Members of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association’s Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee interviewed candidates for U.S. Senate, state auditor, CD 4 and CD 7 on April 6 in Columbia. The full Board of Directors then met and unanimously approved the committee’s decision to endorse Hartzler and Fitzpatrick.
MCA Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman Jimmie Long, a cattle producer from Cole Camp, said, “Hartzler is a proven leader when it comes to fighting for farm and ranch families. “
“When it comes to our issues, we know exactly what to expect. She is the only member of the Missouri congressional delegation serving on the agriculture committee in Washington, D.C. She is a farmer and a longtime producer member of this association,” Long said. “She is currently leading the fight in Washington to create a level playing field for cattle producers by addressing price discovery and market transparency.”
Of Fitzpatrick, Long said, “Fitzpatrick has a long history of holding government accountable and working alongside farm and ranch families during his time in the Missouri House and as the state treasurer.”
He recalled legislation led by the association that would exempt farmers and ranchers from paying income taxes on disaster assistance. Fitzpatrick’s efforts earned him the MCA Legislator of the Year Award in 2016.
“The legislation was vetoed, but thanks to the work of Fitzpatrick, who refuted erroneous numbers touted by the Nixon administration, the veto was overridden by the General Assembly. It wouldn’t have happened without him,” said Long. “Coming from a rural area, Fitzpatrick understands the opportunities and challenges we face in agriculture.”
Long said endorsements are “no easy hurdle” since the board must approve all with at least an 80 percent majority. He also said the recent announcement is simply the first wave of endorsements.
The committee opted to hold endorsements for U.S. Congress until congressional maps are finalized and will review them again at that time.
The committee will reconvene and make recommendations for state Senate races in May and June. Missouri House endorsements will occur in July to give the association time to meet and vet candidates.
“The association takes endorsements seriously and it is a thoughtful and thorough process,” MCA President Bruce Mershon said. “We truly give this a lot of thought and work hard to identify leaders who truly understand and value Missouri agriculture. We do not rush through this.”