To the editor:
Dear President Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau:
It is with deep regret that I write to inform you that, on January 30, the RI Farm Bureau Board of Directors voted, without dissent, not to send a delegation to the Northeast Leadership Conference to be held in Albany from March 18 through the 20.
The reason for our decision not to attend is due solely to comments made by Governor Andrew Cuomo in a recent radio interview. In that interview, Governor Cuomo unequivocally defined those who are “…right to life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay…” as “…extreme conservatives…who have no place in the State of New York.”
American Farm Bureau has a long history of being a champion of the rights and freedoms our Constitution bestows on our citizens. Governor Cuomo’s statements are not only disturbing and insensitive but they fly in the face of several policies that have been adopted by the American Farm Bureau and embraced by the Rhode Island Farm Bureau. Specifically, those clauses are the Family and Moral Responsibility clause, the Firearms clause, and the reference to abortion.
Most, if not all, of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau members would fit the definition of “extreme conservatives” as defined by the governor. And, since Governor Cuomo was so explicit in his desire to rid the state of New York of anyone who does not share his liberal views, we feel compelled to accommodate his wishes.
We, at the Rhode Island Farm Bureau, are Farm Bureau Proud and we cherish all that Farm Bureau represents. Therefore, we cannot, in good conscience, support the policies that Governor Cuomo has established for the State of New York by attending this event.
Bill Stamp, Jr.
President, RI Farm Bureau