Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Candidate forums highlight Farmfest next week near Redwood Falls

Note: I will be attending 1 or 2 days of Farmfest - for sure Wednesday (governor candiate forum) and possibly Tuesday (Congressional candidate forum).

Candidate Forums have been a feature at FARMFEST in every even numbered year for two decades, and 2010 will be no exception, according to Kent Thiesse, FARMFEST Forum Coordinator. Thiesse said that FARMFEST has hosted Candidate Forums for every statewide race for Governor and U.S. Senate since 1990, as well as holding a Congressional Candidate Forum every two years for potential Congressional Candidates in Minnesota Districts that have a major emphasis on the agriculture industry, and a significant rural population.

The focus of past Candidate Forums has been on agriculture and rural issues, and that emphasis will continue again in 2010. Thiesse points out that many Forums during the length of the campaign season cover the vast breadth of issues facing candidates, but the FARMFEST Forums are one time when the focus is much more “fine-tuned” on the issues that are critical to farm families, small businesses, and rural communities.

The "Governor Candidate’s Forum on Rural Minnesota", which will be held at FARMFEST on Wednesday, August 4, at 10:30 AM, has garnered considerable statewide attention, and even some national focus. All five of the major Candidates for Governor of Minnesota have confirmed to participate in the FARMFEST Forum. This includes Tom Emmer, Republican candidate, Tom Horner and Rob Hahn, Independent Party candidates, and DFL candidates Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton, and Matt Entenza. A panel of Minnesota agricultural and rural leaders will pose questions to the Gubernatorial Candidates on a variety of issues affecting farm families and rural communities. The statewide Primary Election is on August 10, and the General Election is on November 2.

The "Congressional Candidate’s Forum on Agriculture and Rural Issues" will be held on the first day of FARMFEST, which is Tuesday, August 3, at 10:30 AM. All Congressional Candidates from Minnesota’s First, Second, Sixth, and Seventh Congressional Districts have been invited to participate in the Forum. Thus far, Congressman Collin Peterson (D) and Lee Byberg (R), his opponent in the Seventh District; Congressman Tim Walz (D), along with Randy Demmer (R) and Steven Wilson (I), his opponents in the First District; and Tarryl Clark (D), who is challenging Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R) in the Sixth District, have confirmed to participate in the FARMFEST Forum. A panel of agriculture reporters for radio and newspaper will pose questions to the U.S. House Candidates on a variety of issues affecting agriculture and rural communities.

Ideas for questions may be submitted via e-mail to Kent Thiesse, FARMFEST Forum Coordinator, at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com. That information will then be forwarded to the panel members that will be posing the questions to the candidates during FARMFEST.

FARMFEST Forums will be held throughout the day on August 3, 4, and 5, in the Forum Tent on the FARMFEST Site, which is located at the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls, Minnesota. In addition to the two Candidate Forums, the 2010 edition of FARMFEST will include special forums ranging from ideas for Minnesota’s next Governor, to understanding carbon credits, to the future of the livestock industry, and strategies for agricultural education. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will be the keynote speaker at the Forum on Thursday, August 5, at 10:30 AM. All of the Forums will provide ample time for questions, and follow-up discussion by Panel members.

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