Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Trending on the Journal

Recent Comments

CoolEdge - REBEL MEDIA: You\'re a grand old flag - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Were you there after Katrina or some other hurricane? That was a rather unique situation, and many of those billions got poured into the wrong pockets. (and any comparison to the war and famine of Somalia is absurd) That is the problem with throwing ever more billions into education or welfare or any top down political solution. There are always many lined up for political payback, and another…
pjohnf - Amending Illinois Constitution a tough path for pension reform - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Just because it's going to be hard to get done doesn't mean it shouldn't be attempted. Anything worth doing is going to be hard. The politicians need to stop worrying about their political futures and concentrate on doing what's right for Illinois and its citizens. Illinois politicians need to take care of the tax payers and quit kowtowing to government sector unions.
pjohnf - Quinn, Rauner use jobs claims as campaign weapons - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Governments or Governors don't create jobs, they can only create an atmosphere for private sector job growth. That means a low tax rate for businesses and less onerous regulations for businesses. The one good thing I saw was a decline in government jobs which is good thing. The unemployment rate is a bogus number as it doesn't truly reflect how many people are really working. What we need…
CoolEdge - REBEL MEDIA: You\'re a grand old flag - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
thanks for the link Not sure why it doesn't come right up with Google. I have to put "qteaparty.com " in for Google to bring it up. Just Qteaparty works for Bing, or even "quincy tea party". Anyway, maybe everyone here can do the search on Google, so the name will start coming up more easily on Google. I'll make it to a meeting one day ... looks like you've had good speakers, but…
AYHSMB - REBEL MEDIA: You\'re a grand old flag - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
If you really think about it, the government must want it this way, otherwise, they would try to change it. Anyway, if you read the comment section of eaglebeaky's post, and mine, you'll see there is much disagreement on how the numbers and stats are figured.

Most Popular

Intimidation from Durbin?

48th Street project no longer in the Adams County Board's control

Woman dies after SUV and motorcycle collide

Quincy City Council approves new garbage truck purchase

Middleton Runs Out of Appeals

LES MISERABLES Guest Artist to star in Autism Speaks benefit

Bickhaus named to Mercantile Bank Board

Rural Quincy man found to be growing marijuana

Rural lawmakers struggle to make themselves heard

4 months, 3 weeks ago From Associated Press

Lawmakers and political experts say the dwindling numbers of farmers, ranchers and others who make their living off the land affects not just agricultural policy but other rural concerns

They're an endangered species in many state legislatures as more Americans move to urban centers or suburban cities: the rural lawmaker who knows what it's like to care for a herd, plant a crop or drive on gravel roads.

Indiana Rep. Bill Friend, a pork producer, said it's challenging to explain modern farming to colleagues who no longer have personal connections with agriculture. He calls it an annual educational project, as he knows of only one other state legislator who makes his living primarily from farming.

"They're one, two, three generations removed from food production and agriculture. It's kind of a foreign topic to them," said Friend, the Republican majority floor leader in the Indiana House.

Lawmakers and political experts say the dwindling numbers of farmers, ranchers and others who make their living off the land affects not just agricultural policy but other rural concerns - highways, health care, schools and high-speed Internet access. Urban and suburban lawmakers might be sympathetic, but they're often unfamiliar with particular concerns.

One Colorado legislator, a rancher, has even gone so far as to suggest each of his state's 64 counties have a single House seat instead of awarding representation according to population.

In ag-centric Nebraska, more than half of the legislators now come from the Omaha and Lincoln areas. Similarly, South Dakota's legislators are bunched near Sioux Falls or Rapid City - only 11 of South Dakota's 105 legislators as of last year were involved in agribusiness; in 1987, the figure was nearly three times higher.

It was once the opposite.

Rural interests had outsized influence in state capitols back when districts were often based on geography rather than population, said Tim Storey, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. That changed when a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s said legislative districts must have roughly equal populations to ensure the principle of one person, one vote.

"That just makes it more difficult for the rural voice to be heard. It doesn't mean it can't be heard. It's just more challenging," according to Doug Farquhar, the conference's program director for agriculture and rural development.

Colorado state Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg's radical idea of one representative per county comes out of his frustrations over not being heard - he is the only rural voice in the House. Currently, the state legislature's votes are heavily concentrated in the greater Denver and Colorado Springs areas.

He concedes the idea is constitutionally dubious, and follows a mostly symbolic ballot initiative in 11 rural Colorado counties last year to secede and form a 51st state amid disagreements over gun control, renewable energy mandates and other issues.

"I think it is an argument worth having," said Sonnenberg, who represents a sprawling district in the northeastern plains. "But I have no illusions this would ever go into effect."

Illinois was the nation's top soybean producer in 2013, and ranks No. 8 in the U.S. for number of farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture report release this week. But Democrat John Sullivan is the only active farmer in the Illinois Senate, with 200 acres of grain and a few cows.

Sullivan, an assistant majority leader, lamented that the Senate agriculture committee's chairman and other members don't have agricultural backgrounds. He expects a struggle to make the farming opinion heard as the chairman pushes legislation to require labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

"It just makes it more difficult to explain and talk to my colleagues when they're only hearing one side of it from opponents of GMO crops," Sullivan said.

In Minnesota, Rep. Rod Hamilton has long argued that rural concerns get neglected in St. Paul, where the number of farmers in the House stands at six - down from 14 as recently as 1995.

Hamilton, a Republican and pork producer, said he plans to work with other rural lawmakers from both parties in both chambers this session to protect shared interests against a leadership that's mostly from the Twin Cities area.

"You don't need that many votes to make an impact," he said.

Forming partnerships has been key for the only full-time farmer in the Maryland Senate, Thomas McLain "Mac" Middleton.

Maryland has some of the country's richest counties, but its poor, rural areas share many of the same problems as urban areas such as Baltimore - poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancies and lack of opportunities, Middleton said.

So he's made common cause with his urban counterparts to ensure that rural communities have access to education funding as well as high-speed Internet service.

Though his 250-acre farm has been in his family since the 1600s and his ancestors grew tobacco, Middleton converted the property mostly to agritourism. He hosts school groups and families to visit barnyard animals, take hay rides, navigate a corn maze or pick strawberries and pumpkins.

Broadband has been important to the growth of his and many other businesses in rural Maryland.

He said: "I fight real hard to make sure that rural communities don't get left behind."


From the Newsroom

QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 10 hours, 38 minutes ago

QPD conducting manhunt for two armed robbers - Have blocked off area inside IL Vets Home http://t.co/Dp6s63OwAz
Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 13 hours, 23 minutes ago

RT @cbinflux: FORE!!! Obama Hits The Links For The 11th Weekend In A Row, Round #182… http://t.co/Hbb5p73zdD
QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 16 hours, 39 minutes ago

Farming in Illinois takes flight - Drones save Illinois farmers time and money http://t.co/flRZMmexnJ
QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 16 hours, 39 minutes ago

The future of craft beer starts in Massachusetts - St. Louis-based Schlafly made its Northeast debut there http://t.co/gvcfEQuvw2