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The 115th Congress include 60 freshman representatives, all brand new to Washington politics. Do any of
them represent your district?
What Can We Do to Help?
That is a great question, and one that every single member of the National Watermelon Association should ask of
themselves. An old friend of mine once said, “Lobbying
is not a Spectator Sport”. And, he is so very right.
No matter if your congressional district is represented by
a newly elected freshman or a seasoned legislator, it will
take the entire village of our membership to EDUCATE
They know little to nothing about farming, packing and
shipping. So, it is indicative on all of us to teach them,
to tell them what we need, what we do not need, and how
they can help us.
That is the primary
reason why the
created the grass-
roots program we
call “A Day With
to invite them to visit farms and sheds to meet the
to hear from the investors in the dirt what they need
(and do not need) to make a crop and provide healthy
food to feed the world. Education of our legislators
is vital to our future success(es). Without that effort,
we should not complain - - for how can our legislators
know what we need (and do not need) if we do not tell
them)? Makes sense.
Along the way, we should celebrate our successes as we
pursue the end game. What we know is that getting a
good piece of legislation passed into law is a celebratory feat, but the true meaning of success is a daily thing
- - making contact with that legislator’s aides; then the
legislator themselves; then a meeting or a phone call;
and then an email or fax with an idea; then maybe even
a farm or shed visit. It takes one step at a time, and
you’ll make a new friend along the way. Friends help
friends. Legislators can be your friend also.
Our legislative contact program, A Day with Watermelon, was written and released last year, and will become
a pedestal of our government relations efforts moving
forward. The program is designed to walk you through
the steps to contact, request and encourage your legislator to visit your farm and/or packing shed. That is a
huge key to the success that can be received.
To have a legislator visit your business will be a tremendous feat. Having them on your turf, listening to what
you need their help with, what you don’t need them to
do, and what your issues are, will open up conversations
and windows of opportunity. And, it will be a great
opportunity to begin to know them, their family, and
potentially becoming friends along the way.
The Day with Watermelon program also encourages
contacts with your legislators when the National Watermelon Association is pursuing key issues on your behalf.
Please take the time to look at the program on your
website ( www.watermelon.ag), and get involved. And
remember, if we don’t tell our legislators what we need
(and do not need) from our government, then how are
they to know?
successful business man and bring that acumen into the
White House (and Washington federal politics). It surely
would not hurt to bring a business acumen into federal
politics, and question ‘everything’. If this is in fact of
government by the people and for the people, maybe
- - just maybe - - this is a step to recapture that mantra
that our forefathers intended for us. Mr. Trump has the
aggressive approach to pursue that for us, and for our
country. Let’s hope that he can make some gains.
The NEW Administration
Just as our newly elected President is a non-political guy,
so does the majority of the Cabinet Secretaries look the
same. They are made up of successful business people,
military Generals, doctors, a couple of state politicans,
and a couple of Washington politicians that complete a
unique team of leaders. One can debate the merits of this
person or that person to serve as Secretaries, but this is
obviously a Trump Team that will be different than any
we have most likely ever seen. Mr. Trump is shaping
his leadership team in a similar fashion to how he ran
his campaign – not the norm, and with a new acumen to
make a difference.
One can question any
of the nominations.
Senator Jeff Sessions
as Attorney General is
an obvious choice,
considering his tough
stance toward immigration. Yet, Senator Sessions is a
seasoned and proven lawyer that can elevate the Judicial
Department to a new level.
Why appoint the Exxon
Oil CEO to Secretary
of State? Well, why
not? He has businesses
across the planet, with
contacts in most coun-
tries. He oversees a global business empire, which is
similar to the scope of the State Department. Another
non-politician - - maybe that’s the issue?
And Mr. Trump is not
stopping there. The
newly appointed Ambassador to China is a
Governor, and close
friend to the Premiere of China. Some have questioned that nomination. One can ask why? Mr. Trump
has issues with our trade deal with China and their
manipulation of their currency, amongst other issues.
Why not put one of the closest friends to their leader
alongside him to begin to work things out?
The First 100 Days
with Mr. Trump’s success in convincing Carrier to
keep over 1,000 jobs in Indiana (from moving to
Mexico). And, he does not seem to be stopping there.
It is anticipated that up to 14
Obama Administration regula-
tions, immigration reform &
border security, a huge debt
ceiling deadline, and our coun-
try’s infrastructure will be Hot
The regulations that can come into question include:
Clean Power plan, Clean Water rule, Ozone rule,
Fracking rule, Dodd-Frank banking regulations, Fi-
nancial Adviser rule,
Overtime rule, Union
Persuader rule, Contrac-
tor Blacklisting rule,
ban, Rules on payday
loans and debt cards,
Net Neutrality, Menu
Labels, and expanded
Tobacco rules. During
the campaign, Mr. Trump
indicated that up to 70%
of regulations ‘can go’,
and he also called for a
moratorium on any new
rules. He has vowed to
slash regulations, and make that effort a cornerstone of
Immigration (and building the wall on the Mexican border) is a topic that he brought into the Republican nomination chase, and is now an expectation of the majority
Infrastructure is required, and needed, to shore up our
nation’s bridges, highways, interstates, and more to keep
our vehicles and trucks rolling down the road. That federal effort will also create jobs here at home.
In addition, President-Elect Trump is committed to rebuilding our military force, repairing our country’s relationship with Russia, vetting immigrants (from Syria and
and defeating ISIS, supporting law enforcement and ‘law
and order’, keeping Guantanamo Bay open and ‘loading
that ‘hate America’).
Where Do We Fit In?
The National Watermelon Association is your advocate
in Washington, and we welcome the challenge that is set
in front of us to address the major issues that impact our
members’ businesses, and in some cases the industry-at-large. We continue to be your voice on the issues, and
work toward solutions.