Rep. Joel Kretz receives award for work on agriculture issues


Washington State Farm Bureau honors legislator with 'Legislator of the Year' award

Each year since 1995, the Washington Farm Bureau (WFB) Board of Directors awards one or more state legislators with the honor of being the organization's “Legislator of the Year.” This year's award was presented to Rep. Joel Kretz, deputy leader of the House Republican Caucus.

According to the WFB Kretz was chosen as the 2009 Legislator of the Year “in recognition of his perfect voting record and stellar leadership on behalf of agriculture.”

“This sort of recognition means the most coming from those who know me best, in this case my Farm Bureau family. This award means a great deal to me,” said Kretz, R-Wauconda.

Kretz added that he will stand in support of measures before the Legislature that bolster agriculture and help with crop, orchard and cattle innovation and sustainability.

“There's a lot of talk in Olympia about how we love farmers, farmland and open space, but we mostly pass silly little bills that make for great sound bites and do little for farm families,” said Kretz, who serves on the Farmland Preservation Committee. “There's very little action on the true underlying issues of endless regulation, high taxes and low profitability. Until Olympia decides to address these real barriers to profitability, we will continue to lose farmers and farmland. I am focused on changing that.

“Boeing has all but left the state. Farmers, ranchers and orchardists are still here because of their love and connection to the land. However, if they can't make a living, they will be forced to subdivide and leave the land,” Kretz explained. “It's simple economic survival.”

Kretz added that agriculture is the state's largest employer and the cornerstone of Washington's economy.

“Olympia simply has to find the political will to address the real issue of profitability in agriculture, anything less is simply window dressing,” Kretz said.

The group had this to say about Kretz during the award presentation: “During the 2009 session, Rep. Joel Kretz served as deputy Republican leader. In this leadership role, Joel provided key access to Farm Bureau members and staff. Additionally, Joel helped communicate the needs of agriculture with his caucus members, as well as with other members of the House and Senate, in addition to working with the governor's office.”

A legislator's vote record and outstanding efforts to help strengthen family farms are key criteria for receiving this award. The WFB said legislators who are given this award are “go to” people for Farm Bureau leadership and staff, and they play a key role in helping WFB achieve its public policy goals. Kretz also received this award in 2007.

“The legislative session begins Jan. 11 and is scheduled to last 60 days. I hope constituents will continue to contact me throughout the session on issues important to agriculture, families and employers,” Kretz concluded.

PHOTO CAPTION: Rep. Joel Kretz riding one of his horses at his ranch this fall. Kretz and his wife, Sarah, and son, Jeb, raise cattle, horses and timber on the family ranch near Wauconda.

For more information, contact: Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer: (360) 786-7252


Washington State House Republican Communications