Well my reign in Washington has ended. I am back in Stanley N.Y. working at the family business and waiting for Cornell to inevitably resume. The positive is that I seem to have brought the rain back to NY, which I can see we needed badly since my lawn is brown. In returning, I realize the hype and nonstop action of D.C. has ended for now. I no longer have a constantly changing to do list. I got my hands on so many different issues, talked to farmers from all over my district, sat in on meetings with everything from the Farm Bureau to a meeting with Speaker Boehner. I had a great time in D.C. and realized it is a path that may not be a lost cause for me. I enjoyed it and could see myself taking a small part in it in the future. However I think the small part is key. The senators and congressman on either side of the aisle need to realize that this is a service, not a career choice. At some point, all you start worrying about is re-election. Sometimes you need to stick to you platform and take the popularity hit, otherwise as you have seen in the past weeks, nothing gets done because everyone is trying to grab a piece of positive press.
I believe that District 29, whose backbone is in agriculture, has a strong supporter in Tom Reed. Working in his office, I saw he never stopped moving, has a strong head on his shoulders, and listens; taking opinions into account. I think we need to be informed as a populace and not always take shots at our representatives if we haven’t taken the time to actually look into the problem ourselves. I think if we do this, we can play a much bigger role in political decision-making. With more and more people in every district and state in America, we need to realize that elections will play a key role. With more people, it is harder to hear everyone’s opinion, so we need to ask questions early, and often, to elect the right representative.
Working on a number of sides in the agricultural circle now, I see a clear picture of how things fit together and what can be done better on all sides. I have worked in small agribusiness with my parents, Amberg’s Nursery. I’ve also worked in agriculture research with in the grape breeding department at NYSAES in Geneva. There I meet researchers from around the world. Being part of the Farm Bureau, I’ve seen the communal fellowship between farmers needed to create change. Working in D.C., I got a full view of the challenges and their effects.
Seeing all these sides has taught me more than I could learn in a class discussion. I not only have a clearer picture of the pieces, but also ideas of how I could contribute to their change and improvement.