JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Cattleman’s Association is gearing up for the first ever ‘Straight Talk’ event, a fundraising dinner in the Capital supporting the association’s political action committee.
“We thought we would try to reach outside of our world, and reach more of Jefferson City’s political community,” Executive Vice President Mike Deering of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association said.
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association’s goal is simple: protect and defend the cattle industry in the Show Me State. This new event is intended to promote the association’s work, but also provide some fun entertainment as well.
The event will host a featured speaker, and the man they have selected is none other than Allen West. West is a retired U.S. Army lt. colonel and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Florida’s 22nd district.
West is currently a member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors, and also serves as the executive director and vice chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
But what has brought him the most notoriety and attention is his work in media. Following his time in Congress, the Republican joined Fox News as a contributor in 2013. He is also a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and regularly writes for numerous media outlets, while also serving as the editor and chief of allenbwest.com. In that capacity, the former U.S. representative has been very engaged in the social media realm.
West also has spoken about the incoming Trump administration, saying that this is an opportunity to push conservative values forward.
The MCA notes that West’s views are not reflective of the association’s, but Deering says that the conservative commentator’s outlook will be one they believe many will find interesting and refreshing.
“He offers his perspective, which is interesting and compelling,” Deering said. “Even if you don’t agree with him, it’s still intriguing. Certainly, people with open minds will find it that way, because hearing different opinions is always a healthy thing to do.”
Deering says he expects that, in terms of agriculture, West will share his opinions on government overreach, a topic which the conservative has discussed strongly in the past.
While the event’s first speaker is a noted conservative, Deering says they hope to continue offering these events in the future with speakers from both sides if the aisle. Their hope is to give people the opportunity to hear from dynamic speakers they wouldn’t necessarily get the chance to.
In addition to the keynote speech from West, attendees will also be treated to a steak dinner, which the MCA is quick to point out will consist of rib eye steak hand-selected by cattlemen, “not hotel steaks” – after all, it is a cattlemen’s event.
“Everything that we do, every event we have, we want the public to have a great experience while enjoying our product,” Deering said. “We want them to get a good impression of Missouri beef and the Missouri cattle farmers that work hard every single day to produce it.”
Deering says it was important to the MCA to showcase the beef which not only pays their bills but represents the lifestyle they have based their lives around.
“So far, we’ve had a pretty diverse group, from lobbyists to lawmakers, business owners, and cattlemen,” Deering said. He says lawmakers from both sides of the aisle has registered for the event, something he’s happy to see.
“It’s encouraging that they want to hear the other side’s perspective.”
Currently, the MCA expects a couple hundred people to attend, but just to be safe, they’ve acquired a room that can hold more than 600 people.
The event is scheduled for February 15, kicking off at 5 p.m. the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
Anyone interested in attending can visit http://www.mocattle.org/pacregistration.aspx. Tickets must be purchased before the Feb. 8 deadline.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.