On Nov. 6, 2012, you will have the opportunity to make your voice heard by exercising your right to vote. This year every U.S. Representative is up for re-election as well as 33 Senate seats. We also have a very close presidential election that will help shape the future direction of our federal government and the nation’s economy. Regardless of which political party or candidate you may support, it is important for every American to get politically involved and make sure your voice is heard by the candidates.

There are critical public policy issues at stake for ARA members and their employees in the 2012 elections. We will be actively involved in some key races through ARA’s Political Action Committee (ARAPAC), which is the political arm of ARA and is a powerful tool in representing the industry in Washington, D.C. A growing force has developed around the country made up of ARAPAC-supported candidates who are determined to change the direction of the country. After Nov. 6, stand with ARA to make sure the voice of agricultural retailers and distributors is not ignored.

Former U.S. Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) once said that if more politicians in this country were thinking about the next generation instead of the next election, it might be better for the United States and the world. For many candidates, campaigning is a way of life. Political campaigns are becoming increasingly more expensive and intense activities that require substantial time, money and manpower. If agricultural retailers and distributors become more involved in the election of their federal, state, and local politicians, those politicians will notice and you are more likely to become someone they look to for input on policy decisions and a valued constituent.

How to Get Involved - Become a Volunteer

For any political campaign to be successful, in addition to financial resources they need a large number of volunteers. Serving as a volunteer in your candidate’s campaign can be beneficial on several levels.

Volunteering Helps Your Candidate. Volunteers are needed to help with a large number of tasks and activities necessary to win an election. For any political campaign, volunteers are a high priority and your efforts would be appreciated by the candidate.

Volunteering Helps Your Industry. The relationship developed between the candidate and volunteer can help open the door for future discussion regarding key public policy issues impacting the nation’s agricultural retailers when they are considering legislation in Congress. Supporting a candidate that fully understands the needs and concerns of ARA members will help solidify a strong base support for industry issues.

Volunteering Helps Your Country and Community. As Americans we are fortunate to have the right to freely participate in the election process. If we want to help shape the role the federal, state, and local government plays in our daily lives, then we must become actively involved in the election of our lawmakers and in shaping public policies. Doing so it the only way to help ensure our local community, our country, and our government advance and improve.

Volunteering is Highly Valued. Successful political campaigns have a strong grassroots network built on a foundation of an army of dedicated volunteers with a singular purpose of electing their candidate. A strong volunteer network that has a deep reach within their communities many times can overcome other disadvantages such as less financial resources or media coverage. Volunteers many times make the difference between winning and losing an election.

It has been said that bad public officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. Please make sure you and our industry make a difference this election by volunteering for pro-agribusiness candidates. Also, make sure you, your neighbors, co-workers, and friends vote before or on November 6, 2012! For more information on ARA and/or ARAPAC, go to www.aradc.org.