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National Grange President Scolds Government Issues

By Laura Auerbach (National Grange 3/15/10)

  MARCH 19, 2010 --

National Grange President Ed Luttrell and Ohio State Grange President Gary Brumbaugh spoke on national and local issues during a press conference held March 12 at Friendly Hills Grange Camp, 5880 Friendly Hills Road, Zanesville, OH.

Leading off, National President Luttrell described a Grange letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski expressing deep concerns that the Commission's policy focus is shifting from developing a national broadband plan encouraging universal deployment and adoption of broadband services to underserved rural, farming, and tribal communities, to a policy focused on regulating broadband network management practices. Luttrell stressed that the Grange believes deployment of broadband across the country, and especially in rural America, should be the Federal Government's number one communications priority. He stated that the Commission should not be burdening "technology that it has little first had knowledge using" with unnecessary management regulations.

Ohio State Grange President Gary Brumbaugh dealt with the issue of animal rights. In November 2009, the Ohio State Grange supported Ohio House Bill 414, which establishes requirements and responsibilities for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board in terms of animal rights. According to Brumbaugh, Bill 414 upholds the values set forth by the Grange founding fathers some one-hundred and forty two years ago. The bill passed with an over two-thirds majority.

In January 2010, Ohioans for Humane Farming, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, submitted a petition for a ballot referendum calling for different animal rights regulations. Stated Ohio State Grange president Brumbaugh, "We do not support the proposed 2010 ballot referendum as petitioned by the group Ohioans for Humane Farms. Now it seems that the Humane Society of the United States, an extremist animal rights organization, and its Ohio front group are telling Ohio voters ‘We will not accept your decision and we are prepared to bring our substantial national financial backing to Ohio to force you back to the ballot box to vote on this issue again!' The petition submitted on January 27 by Ohioans for Humane Farms was only signed by a little more than 1,000 Ohio voters."

In November 2009 Luttrell of Sandy, Oregon was elected to his second two-year term as National Grange President. He has made rural access to affordable, reliable and competitive telecommunications technologies a priority of his administration. "Rural America needs, and deserves, the same access to new telecommunications technology that has been afforded to our urban neighbors. The Grange believes national, state, and local laws that govern these technologies should remove the regulatory uncertainty that has deterred advanced telecommunications investment in rural America," he stated.

Brumbaugh has been active at all levels of the Grange. He joined Unity Grange in Mercer County in 1977, where he has served as Overseer, Steward, and Executive Committee member. He is past Mercer County Pomona Grange President, having also served as Overseer and Assistant Steward. Prior to being elected President of the Ohio State Grange, he served as Steward and Overseer. He was Ohio State Grange Junior Director, with his wife, for nine years, and was a State Grange Deputy for 26 years. He is also a Grange historian.

Founded in 1867, the Grange is the nation's oldest rural advocacy organization.

With over 200,000 members, it is active in Washington, DC as well as in the capitols of 40 states across the country. Under the Grange system, the setting of legislative priorities for the coming year starts at the local level, moves up to the state level and is finalized at the annual national convention held every November. The top national priorities are published in the Grange's annual Blueprint for Rural America.



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