Markey gets award from farming group Cory Gardner belongs to

The Colorado Independent got a press release today from Democratic Congresswoman Betsy Markey announcing that she had won the 2010 Golden Triangle Award from the National Farmers Union “for demonstrating leadership on issues relevant to America’s family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

Her release, sent from her Congressional office and not from the campaign, went on to tout her “leadership on a variety of issues, including: her work to address the ongoing crisis in the dairy industry, her support for energy legislation, her efforts to increase transparency and oversight of commodity markets, her support for increasing the use and production of renewable fuels, and increasing competition in the marketplace.”

A couple of things make this more interesting than other releases announcing minor awards and accolades. For starters, and this was not in the release, her challenger in the 4th Congressional District this year, Republican Cory Gardner, is a member of the NFU. A spokesman for the Rocky Mountain chapter of NFU said members of Gardner’s family, which is in the farm implements business, have belonged to the 108-year-old organization for several generations. Gardner’s campaign did not return a phone call.

Mick McAllister, communications director for the chapter, said the organization is non-partisan and has numerous prominent Republicans among its members, including State Sen. Greg Brophy, of Wray. Brophy could not be reached.

The question of partisanship came up because of the 51 winners announced this year, all but three were Democrats— including every Democrat in the Colorado delegation.

“That is unusual,” McAllister said of the number of Democrats winning this year. “Our organization is not partisan. Our political attitude is that we have certain policy views that we advocate for and we don’t care what party a person is in as long as they support our issues.”

He said the chapter has about 4,000 members, with more than 3,000 of them in Colorado. The other two states in the chapter are New Mexico and Wyoming.

He said issues high on the organization’s list right now are local food and renewable energy. “We are not in favor of corporate agriculture but really try to support family-based agriculture,” he said.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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