Republicans have expressed concerns about the DFL majority moving the Agriculture Finance Committee into a larger Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance Committee. Republican Reps. Daudt and Hamilton even sent a letter questioning my support for Greater Minnesota. I believe Minnesotans care much more about results and they will judge the success or failure of the new DFL majority based on results for agriculture and rural Minnesota, not on committee structure.
These attacks are more confusing when you consider that the Republican majority had the same committee structure from 2005-2006, when they had an Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Finance Committee. That committee was also chaired by a metro legislator. Rep. Hamilton raised no objections at that time.
That would make one think this is merely political posturing and an attempt to divide this state. I hope not. Helping farmers is among our top priorities, and agriculture has been an area of bipartisan success. Part of being an effective legislator involves building relationships. I’ve worked to build relationships across both party lines and geographical lines. If we’re going to be successful, we need to work together. We’ll have disagreements, but partisan attacks won’t move our state forward.
Despite the GOP’s complaints, rural Minnesota will have a stronger voice in this majority. Eighty-three percent of the state’s budget is now under the leadership of chairpersons from greater Minnesota. Greater Minnesota will be heard loud and clear this session.
Instead of arguing about committees or attempting to divide this state, let’s get to work on improving all of Minnesota. We need to get to work on boosting agriculture in this state. We need to get to work on improving our schools and lowering property taxes in this state. It’s time for solutions, not political posturing.
Rep. John Ward