|CALL TO ACTION! 4- 23-05|
What a week in the Vermont Statehouse! On Tuesday, approximately 50 folks turned out for a great march to and rally at the statehouse in support of the Farmer Protection Act. The march featured a huge scarecrow named Elmer, and a vintage 1940 tractor - which was even red to match our shirts! You can see pictures of this action here: http://www.ruralvermont.org/archives/001119.html.
On the second picture, you can see that three legislators came out to speak to us during our rally - one Progressive (the bill's lead sponsor, Dexter Randall), one Democrat (majority whip Floyd Nease) and one Republican (Chris Louras, a co-sponsor of the bill). Each spoke in support of the bill and encouraged us to keep up our work to get the bill passed.
We were marching to protest Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr's scheduled testimony in the House Agriculture Committee - in the senate, he gave very pro-industry and anti-farmer testimony; however, he called in sick and his appearance was postponed. One farmer came and testified against the Farmer Protection Act, but when he was questioned by the Agriculture Committee Chair, he admitted that he had not read the bill, and he didn't really know what it would do. Other farmers who were scheduled to testify cancelled on Tuesday morning, so the committee so far has heard very little testimony opposing the Farmer Protection Act.
On Friday, Rural Vermont ran a full page ad in the Times Argus, in conjunction with Vermont Family Farmers testifying in support of the Farmer Protection Act. Despite beautiful weather and a constantly changing schedule, our farmer leaders all made time to come and speak to the committee in support of the bill. Their testimony was powerful and effective, and committee members listened with interest. THANK YOU to the dozen or so folks who turned out to listen and offer support to our farmers as they testified. You can see our ad here: http://www.ruralvermont.org/archives/001126.html . It also features Elmer the scarecrow, who is turning out to be our mascot for the Farmer Protection Act!
Even though the House was consumed with passing the Universal Healthcare and Renewable Energy bills, our bill was a hot topic in the statehouse all week, thanks to YOUR ACTION...as the session heats up, we need to keep the pressure on in order to make sure our legislators know this is a priority issue for us. We expect the committee to hear more testimony on Tuesday and Thursday this week, but the final schedule has not been set yet. Check our voicemail at 223-7222 for updates!
We need some specific actions from different parts of the state, so please read carefully, and TAKE ACTION based on WHERE YOU LIVE! If we can stay focused and active, we are going to win this year!!!
NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE:
Call the Speaker of the House on TUESDAY, APRIL 26th. Call 802-828-2245 and tell the Speaker and the Leadership of the House that the Farmer Protection Act is a priority issue for you and you want this bill to come out of the House Agriculture Committee with a POSITIVE vote! The vote count in the House Agriculture Committee right now is uncertain, and one of the democrats is stubbornly refusing to allow the bill to go through the legislative process. All we need is for the Agriculture Committee to vote to send the bill to the Judiciary Committee, so that the bill can be considered appropriately in the committee that has jurisdiction over the liability issues. The leadership has repeatedly named this bill as a priority, yet a member of their own caucus is holding up the process. Please take 5 minutes of your day on TUESDAY to make this call!
IF YOU LIVE IN MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS, PAWLET, RUPERT, OR WELLS
OR IF YOU ARE A FARMER, AND YOU FARM IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE
Call John Malcolm - he is a key vote on the House Agriculture Committee, and is the hold up on sending the Farmer Protection Act to the Judiciary Committee for consideration. Call him at home this weekend or Monday at 802-325-3424, or at the statehouse on Tuesday at 802-828-2228. If you leave a message, please say, "Allow the Farmer Protection Act to go to the Judiciary Committee" and leave your name, town, and telephone number. If you call the statehouse, please be sure to ask for a "call back" from Mr. Malcolm.
IF YOU LIVE IN BURKE, LYNDON, OR SUTTON
OR IF YOU ARE FARMER, AND YOU FARM IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE STATE
Call Dick Lawrence - he is a key vote on the House Agriculture Committee, and may be the one who is the deciding vote on whether to send the bill to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Lawrence has been very open and interested in the issue, and is weighing the testimony carefully. Encourage him to send the Farmer Protection Act to the Judiciary Comittee for consideration, so the legislative process can happen on the bill. Call him at home this weekend or Monday at 802-626-5917 or at the statehouse on Tuesday at 802-828-2228. If you leave a message, please say, "Allow the Farmer Protection Act to go to the Judiciary Committee" and leave your name, town, and telephone number. If you call the statehouse, please be sure to ask for a "call back" from Mr. Lawrence.
IF YOU LIVE IN CHITTENDEN COUNTY
Please CALL YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE and ask them if they will Support the Farmer Protection Act when it comes to the House Floor for a vote. WE REALLY NEED YOU TO CALL these representatives. It will help us to push the democratic leadership if we can say for certain that we have the votes to pass the bill on the house floor, and WE ARE VERY CLOSE to having this count, but we need to hear from all the representatives, and WE NEED YOUR HELP. Please call your representative, ask the question, and then let us know what they say at firstname.lastname@example.org or 223-7222. Every representative has received a packet of information about the bill, and a copy of the bill. Listed below are the Chittenden County reps by district.Please do NOT assume that we know how a rep will vote. This issue is NON PARTISAN and many folks have very personal reasons for supporting or opposing this bill. If you haven't already called your rep and reported back as to where they stand, please make this call THIS WEEKEND or MONDAY. The reps who are signed onto the bill are noted...they don't need calls, but all the others do!
Jim McCullough SIGNED ON
Mary Peterson 878-8241
William Aswad 862-2067
Kurt Wright 658-1410
Mark Larson SIGNED ON
Jason Lorber 863-9429
John Patrick Tracy 863-4135
Robert Kiss SIGNED ON
David Zuckerman SIGNED ON
Johannah Leddy Donovan 863-4634
Bill Keogh 862-5270
Kenneth Atkins 655-1280
George Cross 655-4611
Michele Kupersmith 863-1814
Ann Pugh 863-6705
Albert Audette 862-4236
Helen Head 862-2267
Denise Barnard SIGNED ON
Joyce Errecart 985-2329
SHELBURNE, ST. GEORGE
George Schiavone 985-2886
Debbie Evans 878-4317
Linda Myers 878-3514
Peter Hunt 878-8406
Tim Jerman 878-2972
Martha Heath SIGNED ON
Jim Condon 655-5764
Malcolm Severance 878-2067
Patrick Brennan 863-3773
Katherine Niquette 865-2180
BOLTON, JERICHO, UNDERHILL
William Frank 899-3136
Kevin Endres 893-0765
Doran Metzger 893-1645
IF YOU LIVE IN WASHINGTON, ORANGE, OR LAMOILLE COUNTY
If you are willing to help in our office, make phone calls to people in key legislative districts or to turn folks out for events, or if you can turn out yourself to events, please contact Linda Setchell at 223-7222 or email@example.com and let her know. WE NEED YOU...our farmer leaders are heading back to the fields, and we must stand in solidarity with them and do what it takes to get the Farmer Protection Act passed!
IF YOU LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE...
Call or visit a farmer near you and spread the word about the Farmer Protection Act. Take them a copy of the bill and make sure they understand what it says and does. Ask them what their concerns are. Build community and solidarity!
Also, WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR!
We need you to keep writing those letters to the editor! We're seeing some getting published this week, thanks to your efforts, and we need to keep them coming!
posted: 04/24/2005 01:57:42