It’s Our State
We often hear the statement “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” The trouble is — we soon forget it. We seem to leave the participation part to someone else as we look upon ourselves as too busy. We tend to forget that busy people are the ones who get things done.
I’m not saying we all need to throw our hats in the ring and run for office, but there are numerous other ways to participate in state and local government. This time of year is a good time to consider applying for a seat on local and state boards.
On the local level, county weed and pest boards and county planning boards are great ways to help your county. On the state level, there are numerous boards on which one can serve, around 130 to be exact. Some boards have political requirements meaning there has to be a certain amount of representation from different political parties. Some boards require a set number of individuals from one party. Other boards are divided into appointment districts as set by the Legislature. These districts are divided among the counties. One member shall be appointed from each district with appointments rotating between the counties within the district. Some boards also require approval by the state senate after nomination by the governor.
There are several boards of interest to the agricultural community. The Livestock Board is responsible for the protection of livestock interests in the state from disease and theft. The term is six years and three members must be wool growers and four members must be engaged in other livestock interests, (cattle, horses, etc.). Board members are selected from seven districts with no political split. As you can guess, this board handles some big decisions regarding brucellosis, other diseases and brands.
The Game and Fish Commission is another board where notable decisions are made concerning wildlife with a great deal of importance to our industry. There is a political split on that board with members nominated by the governor and approved by the state senate. To do a good job on this commission I think it would take a greater amount of time and commitment than some others.
Some boards that interest agriculture by approving state funding for grants are the Nonpoint Source Task Force and the Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund Board. By serving on either of those boards you can make a difference for water quality, wildlife and habitat.
Other boards that might interest you — the Animal Damage Management Board, Environmental Quality Council, Outfitters and Professional Guides Board and the Oil and Gas Commission. Don’t forget about the Beef Council, which oversees management of the state beef check off. The Beef Council is looking for a person involved in the dairy business this summer. Also there is the Board of Agriculture. They’re in need of individuals from Natrona, Sweetwater, Unita and Niobrara counties.
It is best to apply in January. Send your applications to Patty Burns, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the Governor’s Office.
Good luck and Happy New Year!