Glenn Brunkow, Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher
My fellow Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) members this is a call to action, a challenge, we need you to go out and vote Nov. 8. I am not going to sugarcoat it, instead I am going to hit this head on. Every one of our members need to get out and vote and your neighbors need to get out and vote — agriculture depends on it.
Historically when those of us from farms and ranches and our rural communities have shown up at the ballot box, we have carried the day. But recently we have gotten lax about going to the polls. In 2020, just under 68 percent of voters in the largely rural 1st Congressional District cast ballots. In the compact, urban 3rd District, turnout topped 75 percent of eligible voters.
I get it if it is fatigue from all of the haggling or wrangling. I am tired of it too. I don’t care why you might not have voted in the past, I am telling you to get out and vote in this election because it absolutely will matter. Recently we have seen elections turn on just a few votes, elections right here in our own state. Don’t tell me your single vote doesn’t matter because it does.
My parents instilled in me the need to get out and vote in every election, and I can proudly say I have never missed the opportunity to cast a ballot. I believe my mother told me that you do not have the option to complain about the government if you did not vote. Rural voters might be a minority in Kansas, but we have proven time and time again that when we go to the polls, we have an impact and often sway the election our way.
Am I going to tell you how to vote? No, but if you want my advice and opinion, I would be happy to share it with you. I would urge you to look at the list of candidates endorsed by KFB’s Voters Organized To Elect Farm Bureau Friends (VOTE FBF), our organization’s political action committee. VOTE FBF is a group of Farm Bureau members, elected from all 10 districts who research races, solicit feedback from county Farm Bureaus and endorse candidates friendly to agriculture. You may view endorsements at www.kfb.org/votefbf. We need to make sure we elect farm-friendly legislators who will make decisions in the best interest of agriculture.
My message is urgent because we have to mobilize the rural vote. We each need to make sure our friends, family and neighbors are registered to vote by Oct. 18. Make sure they know how critical it is for each of us to exercise our right to cast a ballot. I cannot say it strongly enough, if we do not get out and vote, important decisions that affect our way of life will be made by voters who do not understand how those decisions impact us.
So, do your homework, look at the list of Vote FBF endorsed candidates and make sure you get to the polls on Nov. 8. If you can’t make it in person, you still have the opportunity to cast a mail ballot or go to the courthouse and cast an absentee ballot. There are no excuses for not voting, our businesses and livelihoods depend on it.
“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.