I’ve heard for years that the farmers in southwest Georgia support Rep. Sanford Bishop. On his government website, there is a new tab under Media Center called “Op Eds” where he posts rebuttals to letters to the editor printed in SWGA papers. In July, he had his pastor of Mt. Zion church in Albany do one, where the pastor uses the receipt of the “Work Horse” award from the Georgia Peanut Commission as proof that farmers support him.
He has served on the House agricultural subcommittee since 2006 and I’ve heard that he has supported the farmers well in appropriations. His campaign people still tell the press farmers support him.
The facts tell a different story.
In Congressman Bishop’s campaign reports, only four people describing themselves as farmers in the 2nd Congressional District donated to his campaign this year. A total of $1,000 of his total $528,000 received.
With 19 years of seniority and sitting on the Agriculture Subcommittee on Appropriations, one would think agriculture appropriations would go up, but while government grew by 24 percent last year, the 2011 agriculture appropriations are going down. Taking hits are Research Education and Extension, Rural Development (except for Rural Development Administrative Expenses), Animal Plant health Inspection Service, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC). Seeing increases are Foreign Agriculture Service, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Conservation.
For the last two years as I’ve travel around the 2nd Congressional District, I’ve asked every farmer I’ve met what their thoughts were; none supported Congressman Bishop. One peanut farmer put it this way, “A few years ago, Bishop voted to allow peanut imports, the farmer received less for his crop, but the processors received the same price.” The farmer lost, the processor’s profits went up.
Maybe the old line that farmers support Bishop is just that, a tired old line. Congressman Bishop also had the distinction of being labeled by the Center for Responsive Politics as the most tardy congressman and maybe the title “Work Horse” should be “Tired Old Work Horse” that needs to be put out to Pasture in November.
We can use the fresh new blood that will truly work for the 2nd Congressional District.