Written by Anna Boroff, MCGA Public Policy Director
With the 2014 elections now behind us, it’s time to re-examine the landscape and try to figure out what Tuesday’s elections might mean for Minnesota’s corn farmers and biofuels supporters.
That process will take a while, but here are a few initial tidbits and thoughts from an ag perspective two days after the election.
- At the federal level, Collin Peterson (D-7th) and Tim Walz (D-1st) were re-elected to the House. Peterson is the former Chair of the Agriculture Committee and has been a strong voice for corn farmers and biofuels supporters during his 23 years in Congress. Walz serves on the Agriculture Committee and also has provided support for homegrown biofuels, especially after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed slashing the amount of ethanol blended in our fuel supply. Both played key roles in finally getting a new farm bill passed.
- U.S. Senator Al Franken was re-elected fairly easily. Franken also provided a strong voice for Minnesota corn farmers on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the farm bill.
- At the state level, things were a little bit more chaotic. A total of 11 seats flipped from Democrat to Republican in the House, giving Republicans a 72-62 advantage. Of the 11 seats that flipped, 10 were in rural districts. A list of the districts that flipped can be viewed here.
- Democrat Mark Dayton was re-elected to serve another term as Minnesota’s governor. Dayton penned this editorial with Terry Branstad, his republican counterpart in Iowa, in support of the RFS back in February.
- Back at the federal level, republicans regained control of the Senate and picked up even more seats in the House.
Looking at post-election maps that highlight which areas of Minnesota voted red (republican) and blue (democrat) has become almost as interesting as who wins or loses each race.
The below map shows the current makeup of the Minnesota House. As you can see, the vast majority of rural Minnesota, with the exception of the Iron Range, is red. One might look at this map and assume the rural/urban divide is as strong as ever.
But check out this election map of the governor’s race:
And this one on the U.S. Senate race:
As you can see, there’s a fair amount of blue in the governor and senate maps, especially when compared to the Minnesota House map. Yes, the races for governor involved familiar, incumbent candidate, but perhaps the urban/rural divide isn’t quite as large as the Minnesota House map indicates.
Either way, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) looks forward to working with all legislators, new and old, republican or democrat, urban or rural. Agriculture, food and fuel policies impact all of us, whether we live near the corn fields of Renville County or the busy streets of Minneapolis.
A new legislature brings new opportunities and new challenges for Minnesota corn farmers. MCGA will continue working to ensure that the voices of corn farmers are heard loud and clear in both St. Paul and Washington D.C.