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Candidate evaluation plows forward through new redistricting

Jackson County Farm Bureau member Hank Choate speaks with candidate evaluation committee members from across District 2 at a recent training session.
Date Posted: May 6, 2022

By Janelle Walworth

County Farm Bureaus across the state are in the process of recruiting members for the candidate evaluation process. Candidate evaluation committees (CEC) are made of members appointed to evaluate state and national candidates who, if elected, will represent all or a portion of their county. CECs interview candidates impacting their areas and recommend those they favor for an AgriPac endorsement.

Funded in part by Michigan Farm Bureau members, AgriPac is the organization’s political action committee, focused on electing Friends of Agriculture. (Your annual membership invoice includes an option for donating $5 to AgriPAC.)

Informed by the candidate evaluation process at the county Farm Bureau level, AgriPAC endorses and supports state or federal candidates whose positions are compatible with MFB policies, regardless of their party affiliation.

The county Farm Bureaus of District 2 — Hillsdale, Jackson, Branch, Lenawee and Calhoun — kicked off the grassroots process with training from MFB Government Relations Specialist Matt Kapp. Topics covered include the roles of CEC and AgriPAC committees, activity timeline over the coming months and tips for interviewing candidates.

Committee members were also provided with tools for beginning their work:

  • A planning guide covering all aspects of the candidate evaluation process;
  • Voting records for the current and previous legislative sessions;
  • Confidential staff comments provided in print and exclusively to candidate evaluation chairs;
  • Recommendation forms for documenting your committee’s recommendation, due to AgriPac by May 27 following review by the county president;
  • Sample interview questions;
  • Key dates and deadlines.

This year’s redistricting will require new collaborations among county Farm Bureaus. CEC members are strongly encouraged to review the redrawn districts online for the state house and senate, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.

list of candidates can be found on the Michigan Secretary of State website under the elections tab. All candidates filed with the Secretary of State were sent AgriPac questionnaires for submission to MFB. Completed questionnaires will be shared with candidate evaluation chairs and administrative managers.

AgriPac will review candidate evaluation committee recommendations before their endorsements are announced.

County Farm Bureaus may send their members a postcard listing AgriPAC’s endorsements — not to tell anyone how to vote, but so members know what candidates are most farm-friendly.

Finally, remember to vote in both this year’s primary (Aug. 2) and general (Nov. 8) elections.

There are many opportunities for farming members to be part of Michigan’s Voice of Agriculture. Click here to learn more about the Farm FeedPriority IssuesAcademy for Political Leadership and more!

Janelle Walworth is administrative manager for the Hillsdale and Jackson County Farm Bureaus.