SARA WYANT, SEN. JOE MANCHIN, TWO OTHERS RECEIVE NAT'L GRANGE'S HIGHEST AWARD
Apr. 28, 2022
Source: Agri-Pulse news release
"This is one of the most important awards that could be given," said National Grange President Betsy Huber. "For 155 years, the Grange has worked through nonpartisan means for America's agricultural communities and rural residents nationwide. The process of selecting these Champions is something we take very seriously, as we want to ensure that our honorees are truly deserving because of their lifelong efforts."
Huber and National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller believe that each of this year's honorees is a true "Champion" for the people living and working in rural America.
The 2022 Champions of Rural America are Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA 4th), Sara Wyant, founder of Agri-Pulse Communications, and patient rights advocate Nona Bear.
"One doesn't have to explain the rural and small-town citizen to Joe Manchin: he is one," says Eller, noting that Manchin's upbringing and life in West Virginia strongly influence his votes and positions for his constituents. "In this day of rampant partisan politics, Senator Manchin is all about bipartisanship on Capitol Hill."
Senator Manchin's work for rural America has included keeping promises to seniors and veterans by protecting Social Security and Medicare.
Like previous recipients Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MN) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Representative Dan Newhouse continues to champion agriculture and work with legislators and advocates from many different industries to fight on behalf of America's farmers, ranchers and rural residents.
Eller says Rep. Newhouse "is the consummate example of one of the Grange's slogans, 'American Values. Hometown Roots.'"
"Representative Newhouse comes from rural America and truly understands the people he represents - and he fights for not only his own constituents but all of Washington and rural citizens across the country," Huber says. "We are grateful to be able to honor Dan Newhouse with this award, as he truly is a champion for rural America."
Huber said that while those at the top rungs of government who have received the award have done much for rural residents, a lot of the work to "bring the horse to water" is done by respected groups and individuals with a history of leadership in areas that matter most to rural Americans.
One of the primary connectors for many rural Americans is Agri-Pulse Communications' founder and President Sara Wyant.
"Sara's Agri-Pulse is the first thing read every day by the movers and shakers at the intersection of agriculture, policy and government," says Eller. "Sara is a real reporter: knowledgeable, informed, fair, unbiased, nonpartisan and deeply committed to what she does."
"Agri-Pulse connects the people who live in rural America directly to the people who make decisions about rural America," says Huber. "Sara has created an unbiased direct approach to reporting the news for the benefit of those throughout the agricultural spectrum."
Patient rights and healthcare reform advocates have a true champion in Nona Bear.
"Nona works tirelessly to address and advocate for the needs and concerns of older Americans," Huber says. "Her work connects major national nonprofit health advocacy organizations to the people. She is an incredible, thoughtful spokesperson for the health care needs of rural America."
"America's patient population has a far greater public voice today as a result of Nona Bear's ability to build alliances across patient advocacy interests," adds Eller.
Huber said the award criteria were established in line with the Grange's grassroots priorities and values.
"Our recipients are expected to show a clear understanding of the importance of agriculture in our economy and as part of our national security; they fight to ensure equitable access for rural Americans in relation to business, healthcare, educational and other opportunities; they place a value on doing the right thing and serve the public above any political party, and they consistently work across the aisle, placing an emphasis on bipartisanship in their legislative work or advocacy," Huber said. "But also, we expect that each recipient show perseverance in the fight for rural Americans and embody our core values of faith, hope, charity and fidelity and live by our motto: in essentials, unity; in nonessentials liberty; in all things, charity."
Previous awardees include Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Susan Collins, Rep. Collin Petersen, Rep. Greg Walden, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Sen. Pat Roberts and the National Rural Health Association.