Congressional Candidate Town Hall to Tackle Ag, Rural Issues

Congressional Candidate Town Hall to Tackle Ag, Rural Issues

HELENA – Montanans will have a chance to hear from U.S. House candidates where they stand on issues critical for the success of rural communities during a live Town Hall Oct. 15.

The Montana Farmers Union 2022 Congressional Candidate Town Hall will focus on ag-related and rural community issues and is set to run from 7-8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Delta Hotels Helena Colonial – Marriott as the conclusion to the grassroots farm organization’s 107th Annual Convention.

All candidates for Montana’s District 1 and District 2 Congressional seats have been invited, with democrats Monica Tranel and Penny Ronning and independent Gary Buchanan committing as of Tuesday.

Republicans Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale declined to attend, something MFU President Walter Schweitzer said is disappointing.

The public is welcome to attend the Town Hall, which will wrap up the two-day convention that has a slate full of policy debate, panel discussions, and workshops centered on family farms and ranches.

The Town Hall will be moderated by veteran political reporter Mike Dennison and will be broadcast on television and radio statewide – thanks to ABC Fox, Northern Ag Network, and their affiliates – to give candidates an opportunity to reach as many Montanans as possible before the general election.

“This is one of the only chances for people across Montana to see the candidates live on television answering questions that are not just canned questions and that are not only important to farmers but to people across the state,” Dennison said.

Candidates will have one minute to answer questions, leaving time to cover a broad range of topics, and the live format provides voters with a chance to see candidates under pressure, Dennison said.

Sponsoring the debate is a natural extension of MFU principles of education, legislation and cooperation, Schweitzer said.

“This is an opportunity for MFU to educate our legislative leaders on the issues that are important to rural Montana,” Schweitzer said.

“Both in Helena and in Washington, D.C., we work across both sides of the aisle to get member-driven policies supported by lawmakers,” he said, adding that MFU is a nonpartisan organization.

Representatives who are supportive of agriculture are key to a beneficial overhaul of the Farm Bill, especially to tackle issues such as corporate control, fair prices and labeling, and sustainability for family farms and ranches, Schweitzer said.

“It’s more important now than ever for representatives from Montana to focus on issues like sustainability and transition of the family farm. Montana’s farm population is aging, and we need to incentivize and encourage the next generation of farmers. The Farm Bill can make that happen,” Schweitzer said.

Town Hall attendees are encouraged to also sign up to attend events throughout the two-day conference, Oct. 14-15. More information about the MFU State Convention can be found at montanafarmersunion.com.

Montana Farmers Union has worked more than 100 years for family farms, ranches, and rural communities. MFU supports its members through: Strong education programs for both youth and adults, by advocating member-driven policies and legislation at the state and federal level, and cooperation through producer-owned co-ops. For more information, visit www.montanafarmersunion.com.

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