A Encouraging Editorial Yesterday

This letter to the editor appeared in yesterdays Valley-Times News.

Candidate who can create jobs in Alabama

To the Editor:
Good news! We have a candidate for Alabama Senate District 13 who has very specific and practical job creation proposals. After meeting and hearing Greg Varner, I know that he will help the currently non-working people of Alabama once again have jobs. And, through building a “world class” educational system, he will help create an economy and environment in Alabama where our children and their children will want to live. Despite the letter to the editor in last week’s paper declaring “officials can’t create any jobs,” the truth is that state government policies and regulations can indeed make a difference.

Greg Varner is the new voice in this state so desperately in need of new
leadership Varner especially focuses on ways to strengthen our local economies, keeping money working for us rather than flowing out of the community and the state.

One of his key proposals is to require public schools, prisons and public hospitals to buy a percentage of their food from local farms. This would greatly
expand the market for local farmers and provide incentive for more people to
take up (or return to) farming. Thus we would see greater farm-related employment and expanding sales of locally-produced goods at farmers’ markets, retail stores and even restaurants. How big a difference could that
make?

Varner, who studied economics as a student at Georgia Tech, points out “If someone spends $100 at a local independent business, about $68 stays
in the area. If spending at a chain store, only $43 of that $100 stays in the local
economy.” He cites a Georgia study showing that every five-percent increase in local produce purchased would create 345 additional jobs. Creating a stronger
local food system also has strong health (recall the recent egg recalls) and food
security benefits. Just as we don’t want to be dependent on foreign oil, we
don’t want to depend on our food coming from afar.

Stressing the need to support not only small farmers but small businesses
generally, Varner says, “Let’s not limit this principle to agriculture, the same
applies to other sectors of our economy. We must close these leaks from our local economies. These leaks are as dangerous to our communities as a parasite is to our bodies; it saps our communities of [their] vigor and vitality. Whether we’re talking office supplies, clothing, in fact, most of what we consume, a local business policy makes sense.”

Accordingly, while acknowledging the value of attracting industry, Varner
would add emphasis to support for local small businesses in all state government
activities. I could go on and on about the wise and practical ways Greg Varner proposes to help our state — and state of affairs. And about his outstanding qualifications, testimony to his integrity and energy, his wonderful family, etc.

Please see for yourself at govarner.com.
Judy Collins, Fredonia

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One response to “A Encouraging Editorial Yesterday

  1. Way to speak up for food and farms Judy! The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network is hoping to work with Greg Varner and stakeholders across the state in support of strong and sustainable food systems! We look forward to seeing you at out Alabama Food & Farm Forum (which Judy is helping to plan!) to be held in Selma on December 2nd, 3rd and 5th starting off with a Charter bus tour of some food and farm projects in the Black Belt and then getting started in earnest on Friday–Bringing together Alabama’s family farmers, community leaders and all those who hunger for abundant and really good local food, the Forum will include practical workshops, inspiring speakers and opportunities to meet and network with others from across the state who share your interests in farm and food issues. Plus our traditional All-Alabama Dinner-Fest!

    http://www.asanonline.org

    It’s your chance to not only enjoy good food with good people but take part in the critically needed effort to envision and create food systems for Alabama that are sustainable, healthy and just, and that nourish both the people and the economies of the communities they serve.

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