At a carefully orchestrated rally at the Ohio 4-H center, the proponents of Issue 2 gathered to introduce their plan last week. Consensus and bipartisanship ruled the day. Gov. Ted Strickland led things off saying "Issue 2 is an issue we can all agree on. Urban and rural, Republican and Democrat, labor and business, we are all standing in support of Ohio 's family farm industry."
Republican Sen. George Voinovich followed up the governor's comments with his own video-taped words of support. "I applaud this bi-partisan initiative," Voinovich said. "A Livestock Care Standards board will ensure that the most knowledgeable local experts will set the standards for Ohio . Passage will ensure Ohio 's national position as a leader in animal care."
House Speaker Armand Budish, D-Beechwood, noted that he was "a city boy without a single farmer in his district, but I am the perfect advocate for this issue." He urged support for the measure from anyone who likes to eat wholesome locally grown-food and people who care about Ohio 's job economy as well as farmers and those who raise livestock.
Then Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, came to the podium and addressed the bi-partisan effort in the Ohio legislature to pass the resolution creating Issue 2. It says something when we can all come together to support this proposal because at the end of the day it is important to have good locally grown food and at the end of day it is about science and not speculation."
Then the stars of the show were introduced. The three faces of the campaign whose wholesome, youthful and televisible faces are being counted on to carry the message. Jessica Sigodi is a mother of two from Rocky River . She appears in an advertisement as a grocery store shopper supports the measure because she who wants safe affordable food local for her family. Mark Thomas the well-known dairy farmer who chose ethanol to power his funny car dragster will be seen later this month speaking from the heart about the value of local production. Brenda Hastings. The mother of three who works side by side with her husband to operate a 600-cow dairy near Burton , made the biggest impact. Brenda is already appearing on televised ads. And media pundits I know tell me her message and appearance are right on target.
Alan Melamed, the communication specialist from Cleveland who is spearheading the strategy behind the campaign spoke confidently. "One thing we have accomplished already," he said "is to scare HSUS out in 2009. It is hard for them to oppose a board to do exactly what they claim to do."
That said, he predicts HSUS will be ready to fight in 2010. "It's their first defeat. They will be back next summer for real kicking. But we have set it up; the issue is about keeping the decision here in Ohio . I think we will be ready for them. This is step one in what is not just a battle but a war."