After RISE contacted Lori Russell and informed her of the pending neonic legislation, Dane Gamble, Rick Hathaway and GCSAA Past President Pete Grass, CGCS, jumped into action. When I reflect on the activities that ensued, a few words come to mind: advocacy, mentorship, and leadership. Between the three, each of the individuals brought their strengths to the table and served their industry well. When it was all said and done, everything worked out in our favor. The following is a recap written by Pete Grass, CGCS, following the event.
Peter Grass, CGCS
On Thursday, February 23, Peaks & Prairies GCSA was notified by GCSAA Government Affairs Specialist Michael Lee of Senate Bill 247 in the Montana State Legislature. The bill called for an “Act Creating The Saving Montana’s Pollinators Act; Prohibiting The Outdoor Use Of Neonicotinoid Insecticides….”
Peaks & Prairies Executive Director Lori Russell reached out to her board and Montana’s GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors along with myself as GCSAA's immediate past president, asking what should we do about this bill? The reaction was to try to educate ourselves and oppose the bill. We learned that a hearing on the bill would take place the following Tuesday in front of the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee. With help from Dave Phipps, GCSAA Northwest Region Field Staff representative, industry information about the past pollinator issues and current status of research and regulations were shared to help prepare arguments against the bill.
|Pete Grass, CGCS. Rick Hathaway and Dane Gamble|
I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way the members of the Peaks & Prairies GCSA jumped into action. When GCSAA set out to organize a Grassroots Ambassador network. This is exactly the outcome that we intended it to have. Dane, especially, stood out by bringing along Rick and Pete, who had never been to a committee hearing. In an email from Rick Hathaway to the group, Rick wrote:
Thanks for taking us newbies in the process under your wing and being such an invaluable mentor for Pete and I who had never attended any sort of legislative function at the Capitol.
Beyond the fact you are such an incredibly educated upstanding citizen and role model for how we can all make a difference, I appreciate the incredible asset you are to our industry and association.
Since I am writing personal accolades… Pete’s commitment to our industry is humbling. Thank you for your measured and eloquent leadership.
While everyone involved deserves a sincere thank you, it was my unique experience to watch these two in action in Helena. Once again, humbling is the only word that comes to mind.
The group’s efforts were noticed by others as well. Frank Wong from Bayer Environmental wrote:
You all are THE BEST!!! I am humbled and appreciative that Doug and I can provide trusted information on this issue.
Coming from the University, the legislative arena is highly frustrating, science doesn’t always win – but persistent representation often does; so I really appreciate the time and efforts you spend above and beyond the 60+ hour work weeks.
Thank you again for all of your efforts,