Last week, Heather Sullivan, Director of Public Relations for The Humane Society of the United States, sent an email message to me, expressing her disappointment that “folks on your site continue to misrepresent The Humane Society of the United States’ position and approach.”
She was reacting to my interview with Pete McClymont, president of Nebraska’s We Support Agriculture, a group whose announced purpose is to fight HSUS incursions into that major ag state. My discussion with McClymont generated some interesting-controversial-inane-insane comments. To read it, and you should before you go farther, click here.
Sullivan offered up an interview with Joe Maxwell, HSUS Director of Rural Outreach, to balance the scales. She also included this bio:
“Joe Maxwell grew up on a family farm in the small town of Rush Hill, Missouri. He is the son of a hard working tenant farmer. As a fourth generation farm boy, Joe Maxwell learned from his grandfather and father the value of being a good steward of the land and the animals you raise. Today Joe Maxwell and his twin brother Steve carry on these values on the same family farm and along with over 50 other family farmers sell certified pork into Whole Foods and other markets.
During the farm crisis in the 1980’s, Joe Maxwell realized that it took more than just being a good farmer with good values. He learned you had to focus your hard work not only on being that good steward on the farm but you had to engage the political process both at the capitols and in the field with grass roots advocacy.
Joe began building his well-known skills by working as a field coordinator in campaigns throughout the 80s and by the 90s he was a leading campaign coordinator for both candidates and advocacy organizations. During this time Joe was a field coordinator for Congressman Dick Gephardt.
In the 90s, Joe put his organizing and communication skills to the test for himself and in a race that everyone said he could not win, he won and became a Missouri State Representative. In the mid 90s, in a special election with only six weeks to run and starting out 23 points down, Joe once again proved himself by putting in place a winning strategy and making it happen on election day. In 2000, when other rural candidates were struggling in Missouri, Joe Maxwell produced a strong, solid win as Lt. Governor.
During his time as an elected official, Joe did not lose site of the value family farms hold in our society, in our economy and in our environment. Joe passed many bills which supported added value agriculture projects and programs for the family farmers, while he worked against large scale industrialized farms which he sees as harmful to the rural economy, the environment, and the animals. To Joe Maxwell, they clearly are not good stewards. He was only one of a few legislators who passed a state ban on packer ownership of livestock and a state COOL program.