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Money Behind Corporate Pigs

smithfield_donors_neleg

Donations to Nebraska state senators and other politicians from China-owned pork conglomerate Smithfield—many reported just before LB 176 was introduced.

A key vote is happening this week that will tell us where our Nebraska state senators stand—with foreign corporate pig producers or Nebraska family farmers.

LB 176, sponsored by Sen. Schilz, would expand corporate pig factories that not only harm our water but also put at risk our strong family farmers. The bill is written for the foreign pig producer Smithfield, owned by China, and one of the world’s worst polluters.

You can read more about LB 176 in a post written by Ben Gotschall.

When we see awful bills like LB 176 come up we wonder what would motivate any Nebraska lawmaker to side with a foreign corporation over family farmers. We do not have to look much further than campaign contributions.

A front group called “Citizens for a Better Nebraska,” which at one point was run by former Att. Gen. Bruning and is now dissolved, got a lot of money from Smithfield. They in turn spend it on candidates who then “owe” them a favor or two.

One of the biggest beneficiaries from Smithfield is, no surprise, Gov. Pete Ricketts who took $10,000 from the Chinese-owned big pig corporation. Bruning actually took the most money from Smithfield, maybe they see that as a bad investment since he lost in the last election cycle.

Senators Schilz, Murante and Johnson are also at the top the list of politicians taking money from Smithfield to the tune of $1,000 this campaign cycle. As a reminder, Schilz is carrying this bill for Smithfield.

Progressive officials also took money from Smithfield including Sen. Kolowski who will not tell his constituents in Omaha where he stands on this critical bill. We hope the campaign contribution will not cloud his common sense.

Nebraska journalist Ted Genoways has written a book and several articles about how massive pig operations like Smithfield wants to bring to Nebraska not only crowd out small family farmers but the operations themselves are literally a public health hazard.

LB 176 is a very bad bill for Nebraska. It’s great for politicians who are hugging the Chinese-owned, polluting, big pig producer. Voting against LB 176 should be an easy “no,” but when so much money is on the table we have State Senators who need to hear from you.

ACTION: Please share the Facebook image below and call the state senators listed below asking them to vote NO on LB 176. We expect the vote to happen Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.

Share this image that Bold put up on Facebook:

BoldNE_Share-CorporatePigComparison_Graphic

Call or Email These State Senators

These senators should be voting with family farmers but need some more pressure. None of these state senators have committed to voting NO on LB 176. We need their votes to stop this risky bill.

  • Sen. Kate Bolz
    Phone: (402) 471-2734 / Email: kbolz@leg.ne.gov (she understand environmental issues, let’s make sure she sides with family farmers)
  • Sen. Sara Howard
    Phone: (402) 471-2723 / Email: showard@leg.ne.gov (she has long stood with community-based solutions, she needs more calls)
  • Sen. Laura Ebke
    Phone: (402) 471-2711 / Email: lebke@leg.ne.gov (she stands up for private property issues and should be concerned about property values going down that are near these large scale pig operations, she took money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. Richard Kolowski
    Phone: (402) 471-2327 / Email: rkolowski@leg.ne.gov (he normally sides with family farmers and should be a NO on LB 1716, but he did take money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. John Kuehn
    Phone: (402) 471-2732 / Email: jkuehn@leg.ne.gov (he is fairly new to the state senate and has a family farm background)
  • Sen. Merv Riepe
    Phone: (402) 471-2623 / Email: mriepe@leg.ne.gov (he understands family farming issues)
  • Sen. Heath Mello
    Phone: (402) 471-2710 / Email: hmello@leg.ne.gov (he is a progressive with lots of common sense, he should be a strong NO but we hear he is leaning yes to side with Smithfield, he took money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
    Phone: (402) 471-2633 / Email: ppansingbrooks@leg.ne.gov (she is also a very strong progressive, we do not understand why she has not committed to voting against this bill, she took money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. Burke Harr
    Phone: (402) 471-2722 / Email: bharr@leg.ne.gov (he often sides with very conservative bills even though he is a Democrat, he took money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. Brett Lindstrom
    Phone: (402) 471-2618 / Email: blindstrom@leg.ne.gov (we thought he would be a young, independent voice when he got elected, we shall see, he took money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. Nicole Fox
    Phone: (402) 471-2721 / Email: nfox@leg.ne.gov (she was appointed by Ricketts recently and says she is a wellness expert, so surely she is against this bill since Smithfield produces pigs with tons of antibiotics, she took money from Smithfield)

 

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