When we elect our state legislators, we hope that they will represent the values of our community — and resist the pressure to vote on party lines or adhere to special interests.
In the 2019 Montana Legislative Session, there were ample opportunities to do just that. One of these was legislation that would have restored Country-of-Origin Labeling for beef and pork.
Here in Lewistown, agriculture is a pillar of our economy. We pride ourselves on raising the very best beef and supporting our local ranchers wherever possible. Our elected representatives should have been all in for COOL.
But rather than supporting our local producers and consumers, both of our local legislators voted against COOL. Now that the session is over, we want to hear from them publicly about how they made these decisions. We request a written response in this newspaper.
Some legislators might defend their “no” votes on COOL by pointing out their “yes” votes on a “resolution.” But resolutions are about as useful as sending wishes to Santa Claus — or in this case, the federal government. We had a great bill that would have made it happen here, and our legislators had the power to act on it. Instead, we’re stuck waiting on the federal government.
The Central Montana Resource Council is an affiliate of the Northern Plains Resource Council. Our organization is committed to protecting clean water, fighting for a fair economic environment for agriculture, and working to preserve rural communities.
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We look forward to hearing from Rep. Dan Bartel and Sen. Ryan Osmundson on this issue.