Nov 3, 2010
02:47 PMThe Wind Machine
Election 2010: Various Observations
● Among the more obscure state-level elections, there were two of special interest to national agricultural policy people. In Florida, Adam Putnam, a relatively young member of Congress, easily won the post of commissioner of agriculture. Mr. Putnam has been an effective leader on national fruit and vegetable issues and has exhibited significant political talent in Washington, D.C. This will not be his last win: I think he likely will be a future U.S. senator or governor of Florida.
■ In Iowa, there was a conventional agriculture candate (Bill Northey) versus a “sustainable movement” agricultural candidate (Francis Thicke) for the elected position of Iowa’s secretary of agriculture. This race was highlighted in a The Atlantic blog in late October as a tight race with no clear cut winner in sight and a “…bellwether of our national attitudes towards food and agricultural policy.” Yesterday, Mr Northey thumped Mr. Thicke by 62% to 37%.
● A lame duck session of the 111th Congress is set to start on November 15 in Washington, D.C. Many substantive policy issues, including those involved with food safety, taxes, trade, and immigration, could be brought up and decided. However, I think few, if any, issues actually will be resolved before the end of the year given yesterday’s change in political dynamics.
● With Republican control of the House of Representatives next year, one can expect federal funding for programs supported by many in the fruit and vegetable sector will be under close budget scrutiny, if not squarely on the butcher’s block: for example, childhood or school nutrition initiatives, export promotional funding, agricultural research, and so forth.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “…a shellacking like I took last night.” President Obama said at today’s White House press conference. Shellacking, used in the sense of a decisive defeat, is from the same shellac word-base as is the wax commonly used by the fruit industry. When someone has been shellacked, they are “finished” as is the waxed floor or apple.