By Cindy O’Laughlin

The race for state senate in Northeast Missouri is unique in many ways. The biggest difference may be the candidates’ views on agriculture. Democrats have nominated Crystal Stephens of Hannibal. Her main talking points on agriculture seem to come from the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC).

The MRCC claims to be for rural Missouri values, but those providing financial support for the organization speaks volumes. Unfortunately, the organization is just a front group for progressives claiming they know what’s best for rural Missouri. MRCC has received grants from organizations that help fund the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL). They have also received funding from Mark Zuckerberg-backed Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which helps fund the ACLU’s efforts to provide taxpayer-funded legal representation for illegal immigrants. Another donor to MRCC is the Schmidt Family Foundation, which helped pay for the distribution of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth.” The George Soros-backed Tides Foundation sent $38,000 to MRCC. Not to be outdone, Ben and Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield also gave to MRCC – they are outspoken supporters of socialism.

Here in Missouri, MRCC operates the “Rural Healthcare Initiative,” which advocates for the expansion of Medicaid. MRCC recently hired a community organizer who previously worked for Planned Parenthood. When you drill down into the personalities involved in the organization – MRCC’s treasurer Steve Hollis has twice written for socialist publications.

Earlier this year, Rep. Jay Houghton filed an ethics complaint against the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, noting that their lobbyist, Brian Smith, had failed to register as a lobbyist. Houghton alleged that perhaps Missouri Rural Crisis Center was wanting to avoid the tax implications of an organization that was doing direct lobbying.

No candidate in Missouri, on either side of the aisle, should take this organization seriously.

Missouri Rural Crisis Center often lobbies state legislators and county commissioners to further restrict agriculture through ordinances and state laws. They do not mention their funding from radical leftist groups. Instead, they claim to represent “the farmer” in all they do. The organizations funding them say otherwise.

My views on agriculture are more aligned with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Farm Bureau and others – that government should stay out of the way and let farmers do what they do best – take care of the land for generations to come. I do not trust the opinion of radical leftists on what’s best for our number one industry. I support Northeast Missouri’s farmers and oppose efforts by Missouri Rural Crisis Center and others from making it harder and harder for young people to remain involved in agriculture.

Cindy O’Laughlin is a state senate candidate in Missouri’s 18th Senatorial District. She co-owns Leo O’Laughlin, Inc., a concrete and aggregate hauling company with four locations in Northeast Missouri.