It’s been said many times that “politics makes strange bedfellows.”
I was reminded of that today when several people in Baldwin County forwarded me the letter below from the president of the Baldwin County Farmer’s Federation:
“Dear Federation Friend,
Matthew Brown is our endorsed candidate for the State Board of Education. He is a businessman and a true conservative who will work hard to see that our children and grandchildren get the quality education they deserve in a safe learning environment.
Join me in voting for Matthew Brown for State Board of Education on Tuesday, March 1st. Matthew Brown will represent us and our children well.
Baldwin County Farmers Federation President”
This group endorsed Matt Brown last fall before all candidates had qualified. It has always been my experience that the Farmers Federation followed the wishes of local members in making endorsements. I ran for the Alabama State Senate in 1994 and well remember when all three of us seeking the office met with the federation screening committee in a motel in Enterprise (We were later told that the committee was split among the candidates and would not make an endorsement or support anyone with PAC money.)
However, I have not be able to ascertain that federation boards in any county went through this process as to who to endorse for state school board. Instead this decision was apparently made by folks at the federation’s state office in Montgomery. And since it was made before anyone even knew who all the candidates were, it was hardly a transparent process.
Brown shows that he received a check for $5,000 from FARM PAC on Jan. 21, 2016.
I have known many Farmers Federation folks for years and years, all the way back to the late 1960’s when I worked for Progressive Farmer magazine. They tried to hire me one time. I made many trips with them to Washington to visit our Congressmen and Senators. They are salt of the earth folks for sure.
When Matt Brown recently showed that he took $25,000 that came from Michigan billionaires these are the sort of folks who would be the first to question why someone in Michigan is meddling in our business in Alabama. It’s a fair question and one I have certainly asked.
There is no doubt in my mind that if the members of the Board of the Baldwin County Farmer’s Federation were asked if folks in Michigan should buy seats on the state school board in Alabama the answer would be a resounding NO.
But here we have a letter going out that certainly seems to say that someone thinks it is OK. That if billionaires in Michigan want to buy the state board of education in Alabama, we’ll go right along with them.
Strange bedfellows for sure.
But going back to 1994 I really should not be surprised. Because after I was told that this group would not be involved in the senate race, someone in Montgomery chose to ignore the wishes of local membership and was soon sending money to my run off opponent. And here is the irony, he was also heavily supported by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, certainly not a friend of the Farmers Federation.
And maybe this explains why Michigan billionaires and folks in south Alabama are being asked to hold hands..