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Legislatively Speaking
A season of change

By Gordon Gibson, State Legislative Director

  OCTOBER 2, 2010 --

In previous columns I have noted that there will be many changes in our legislators and state officials as a result of the elections this November.  There will also be several changes in the Grange and the other organizations we work with.  Leroy Watson has resigned as Legislative Director at the National Grange.  He and his family have moved to Wisconsin where they will be closer to his wife’s family.  Leroy will continue to do some work on trademark issues for the Grange from his new location and his wife will continue her work as an attorney at law for the United States Justice Department.  Nicole Payla Wood is the new Legislative Director at the National Grange.  She has 14 years experience as a legislative aide, legislative analyst and lobbyist for various organizations in Washington.

Jiff Martin, Project Director for the Connecticut Working Lands Alliance, is leaving in November to accept a position with the UConn Cooperative Extension Service where she will be working in the general area of food policy.  She has been with the Working Lands Alliance for eight years where she oversees the various activities of the Working Lands Alliance on a day to day basis and is also a registered lobbyist.  She has been very helpful to all of the organizations, including the Connecticut State Grange, that are members of the Working Lands Alliance, coordinating our lobbying efforts and keeping the volunteer lobbyists such as me aware of what is going on in Hartford.  The Connecticut Working Lands Alliance is now a project of American Farmland Trust and Jiff has been the Connecticut coordinator for all the AFT activities in Connecticut.  The Working Lands Alliance is recruiting for a new project director to replace Ms. Martin.

Nick Moore of Sharon will step down from his position of President of Connecticut Farmland Trust in February.  He is completing his third year as president of CFT, during which time he has led the Trust in its efforts to become accredited by the Land Trust Alliance.  Most likely he will become a member-at-large on the CFT Executive Committee and will continue to shepherd the accreditation process until it is completed.  The president of Connecticut Farmland Trust stepping down after three years and becoming a member at large on the executive committee is as customary as the Master of the Connecticut State Grange stepping down after four years and being elected to the Executive Committee.  The CFT Governance Committee, which also serves as the nominating committee, is seeking volunteers to fill one or two anticipated vacancies on the Board of Directors at the trusts annual meeting in February.  Directors are elected for three year terms.  They are expected to attend the bimonthly board meetings and also serve on one or two of the trusts committees.  If anyone is interested in joining the Board of Directors or knows of anyone who would be a qualified director, please contact me with a brief resume concerning the individual.  Although the names are very similar, Connecticut Farmland Trust has no connection with American Farmland Trust.  Connecticut Farmland Trust acquires and holds easements to preserve farmland throughout Connecticut while American Farmland Trust lobbies for legislation to protect farms and keep farm operations viable at both the state and federal level.

As some of you already know, I am stepping down as Legislative Director for the Connecticut State Grange at our annual session this month.  As a member of the State Grange Executive Committee I will continue to be an ex-officio member of the Legislative Committee and the present plan is that I will continue to lobby for our issues at the General Assembly.  I am completing twenty years on the Legislative Committee and twelve years as Legislative Director.  I have enjoyed this opportunity to serve the Connecticut State Grange and especially the many nice comments I have received about my articles in the Connecticut Granger.  To quote from Bob Hopes theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.”


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