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Two Years Can Fly by When You’re having Fun

By RMFU Vice President Todd Hagenbuch

Last year, with the election of a new President and all of the related activities at convention, I had little chance to visit with you, our members, about my first year as Vice President.

If I had offered some words to describe my first year, they might have included “learning,” “excited,” and “sometimes overwhelmed.” I am happy to report that I would still use the word“learning,” and still use the word “excited,” but I would more likely replace “overwhelmed” with “more comfortable.” We have a complex organization, and we’re a changing, living entity. “Learning” and “excited” always describe how it feels to work with RMFU.

This year, we have a number of board seats up for re-election, as well as the Vice President’s position. As I understand it, two of the three open director’s positions have incumbents running unopposed. At this time, I am running unopposed as well. Is this what our members want, or would you like to see a little competition for these seats come November?

I truly enjoy being on the Board of RMFU and its related entities. The other directors are passionate about our organization, have incredible knowledge about agriculture and Farmers Union, and have your best interests at heart. But does that mean that any or all of us should be handed our seats because no one will run against us?

Last year a group of members brought to us a Special Order of Business that proposed term limits for board members. When the board considered recommending or not recommending the passage of the order for convention attendees last year, I voted to not recommend passing the order. I have always felt that when one is a member of a true democracy, one always has the opportunity for term limits: the incumbent should run, fair and square, against someone else so the voter can decide who best represents their views. But if no one will run against an incumbent, we never have that opportunity.

While it may be too late to put your name on the ballot for this November’s election, you can still run for a board seat. Two years ago, I ran a write-in campaign for the Vice President’s position. My predecessor, Paul Stout, had done a great job as VP, but I felt that if I wanted my voice heard at the board level, then I should run for a position. To my surprise, I won, and it has been a privilege to represent you since. But that doesn’t mean I should have my seat back by default.

If you have an opportunity to do something and you don’t do it, can you blame another for your decision? Is it the incumbent’s fault you didn’t win a seat at the table, or is it yours because you never gave us the opportunity to choose?

You have until November 19th to answer the question.