WV Farm Bureau Magazine May 2012 - Page 5

Something to Think About D Mi h l Don Michael, WVFB Di Director of Governmental Aff i fG l Affairs Public Service – I commend our local Farm Bureau organizations for the active role they are taking to showcase candidates seeking public office. I have attended a number of candidate forums during this election cycle. I always come away from these events encouraged by the sincerity of many of the individuals pursuing public office, as well as the active involvement of our members, seeking information so they can make informed decisions. The most recent forums I attended were hosted by the Putnam and Wood County Farm Bureaus. The Putnam event focused on the race for Agriculture Commissioner. The candidates performed well as they responded to a variety of questions to test their knowledge of agriculture issues and provide insight into their qualifications and ability to provide effective leadership for the future. The Wood County forum highlighted those seeking office on the local, state and national levels. Some of the more passionate presentations left no doubt about the commitment to public service. Again, I commend Putnam and Wood, as well as the many other Farm Bureaus who have created opportunities for our members and other concerned citizens to interact with candidates. As one of our members serving in the West Virginia Legislature, Delegate “Woody” Ireland, reminds us from time to time – “Politics is not a spectator sport.” I personally find elections quite stimulating and exciting. The process truly brings out the best and worst, making it an easy decision in most cases in determining who to support. As I study candidates I look for those whom, regardless of political affiliation, I perceive to be visionary, knowledgeable and committed to public service, with my primary selection because it is the right path, and the only one upon which you will never get lost.” Integrity is a term readily associated with the farming community. It is also a characteristic exemplified by many in public office, contrary to the bad rap many politicians receive . . . although some richly deserve the rap! Those I respect “under the Dome” and “inside the Beltway” have integrity, shaped by caring, that results in highly effective leadership and a genuine commitment to serving the citizens of our State. Speaking of commitment, my wife and I were blest to recently attend a 90th birthday celebration for a mentor and dear friend, Bayard L. Swecker, retired agriculture teacher and FFA advisor from Harman High School. I was pleased to see several Farm Bureau members, retired agriculture teachers and past state FFA officers in the crowd of 150 packing the Harman VFW Hall to say “thanks” to “Sweck” for his lifetime commitment to agriculture and youth in Randolph County. Until next time, take care FRIENDS, God bless and KEEP SMILING. Integrity is one “ several paths. It of distinguishes itself from others because it is the right path, and the only one upon which you will never get lost. criterion being integrity. What comes to mind when you think of integrity – sound moral character, honesty, truthfulness, reliability . . . ? I heard it framed best by a guest speaker during my career in agricultural education – “Integrity is one of several paths. It distinguishes itself from others ” COUNTRY TRACTOR SALES, INC. WALTER “LAD” SCHMIDLEN OWNER New & Used Equipment KRONE NIEMEYER HAY EQUIPMENT For Friendly Service Call 304-636-0970 Georgetown RD. • Elkins, WV 26241 “We sell the best and fix the rest” West Virginia Farm Bureau News 5