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PAC: Support Where it Counts

PAC: Support Where it Counts

On Sept. 19 cattle producers, allies and advocates gathered at the Malott ranch for the Cowboy ImPACt dinner, generously hosted by Central Oregon Ranch Supply on the eve of their annual tradeshow.

This event is the Oregon Cattlemen’s only annual fundraiser to support the lawmakers who fight for the rights of Oregon farmers and ranchers in the Capitol. All proceeds from the event go to the OCA’s Political Action Committee.

Senator Herman Baertschiger tries out his skills on the grill.

For the second year, Mark Malott opened his barn doors and invited OCA members to gather for a delicious steak dinner and lively conversation about issues that impact the rancher’s way of life in this state. This year, we did things a little differently and started out the night with a fun Mix & Mingle with the tradeshow vendors. Each vendor supplied a drink and appetizer for the crowd. For instance, at the Boehringer Ingelheim booth, we were served up German beer and brats and if we ventured into the Zoetis booth, we found a steamy shrimp broil and cocktails.

After nearly 150 dinner guests and six legislative speakers checked-in, they headed to the barn to greet old friends and perhaps, buy themselves a good pair of Muck boots ahead of the rainy season.

During dinner representatives and senators shared their opinions and stories of the current political climate in Oregon, recaps of the 2019 legislative session and their goals for the future. Thank you to the following legislatures for speaking at this event: Rep. Lynn Findley (HD 60 – Vale), Rep. Bill Post (HD 25 – Keizer), Rep. Vikki Iverson (HD 55 – Powell Butte), Rep. David Brock Smith (HD 1 – Gold Beach), Sen. Cliff Bentz (SD 30 – Ontario), and Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger (SD 2 – Grants Pass).

Rep. Brock Smith spoke about OCA’s successful grazing districts bill which was past in the last session, as well as the work put in by OCA and other natural resource partners to pass the ditch cleaning bill.

Sen. Baertschiger shared several stories about the “Oregon 11” stand-off that shut-down the toxic cap and trade bill. During his speech, he remarked on how important it is to communicate the rural way of life to those who do not understand the importance of agriculture. It’s a job that takes hammering and determination, but as he mentioned, this state is built on the backs and with the hands of farmers, ranchers, loggers, and hardworking Oregonians in the ag sector. Sen. Baertschiger originally met with the founders of the group Timber Unity to help them spark the movement that took on the streets of Salem and grew to national notoriety.

The group Timber Unity began with a few loggers concerned about the Cap and Trade bill who realized, if passed, the bill would potentially shut down their way of life. The message grew to farmers, ranchers, and natural resource partners and on a Spring day, over 500 semi-trucks, tractors, horse trailers, and farming equipment rallied in Salem, circling the Capitol building. All-day, throughout downtown, we heard smokestacks, truck horns, and country music. It was an emotionally overwhelming day to be marked in Oregon’s history.

On a personal note, as a small-town, ag girl – this was truly a beautiful and powerful moment in my life and I’m proud I was able to be in the right city, on the right day, and on the right side of this contentious issue.  This rally, as well as several others, demonstrated where the “other side of Oregon” stood on this issue, a side that often goes unheard or ignored in this state. With successful opposition, our supporters in the Capitol building were able to veto the Cap and Trade bill in the last session. Now, the group Timber Unity has over 65,000 members and will continue to voice its fight against future Cap and Trade legislation.

It was an honor to have the Representatives and Senators join us for the fundraising dinner and to honor all of their work this past year. It is with their support that the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is able to positively work for you in the Capitol.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Cowboy ImPACt dinner event, I met many new OCA members who were able to come out and learn more about what this association is hard at work to achieve. Thank you also to those who donated auction items and to those who stuck around to bid on the items. Auction items this year included a fishing trip on the coast, a trip to Wallowa lake, a trip and package to the 2020 Pendleton Round-up, a beautiful turquoise squash blossom necklace, and several other leather jewelry items donated by the Oregon CattleWomen, and a custom-made gun cabinet.

The money contributed at this fundraiser gives ranchers a voice in Salem and a step in the right direction for rural Oregon. Please join us next year and provide your support where it counts for your business and way of life. If you would like to donate to the Oregon Cattle PAC, you can call the office or contribute with your 2020 membership renewal.


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