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Washingtonians are still talking about the phenomenon commonly referred to as "Middle America." This is the vast expanse of geography between the coastal metropolises where folks feel ignored and forgotten. Rural economies continue to decline, small town businesses falter, factories shutter, hospitals close, schools consolidate and younger generations move away. Middle America's citizens turned out to vote for change and against the status quo. They voted not so much as Democrats or Republicans but as a common populace looking for hope and opportunity right where they are.

The Trump Administration aims to tackle some mighty big problems and quickly seize on some long-awaited opportunities. These include repeal, replace and transition the Affordable Care Act, control illegal immigration, reform the tax code, renegotiate trade agreements, rebuild the nation's infra-structure, and reduce federal regulations. National Grange policy is strong on all these issues which will require considerable time and attention from Grange leadership and staff. To accomplish most of these fetes, the President will have to enter uncharted territory for him...negotiations with Congress. While the President can implement some of his agenda by executive action, the heavy lifting on major issues cannot happen without Congress.

The President's choice for Secretary of Agriculture, Georgian Sonny Perdue, has good support on both sides of the political aisle and should be easily confirmed. Following Perdue's confirmation, the Deputy Secretary appointment should come down rather quickly but this position also requires Senate confirmation. Chances are good the Deputy Secretary candidate could come from either California or the Midwest. Nine Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary appointments, all requiring Senate confirmation, will follow. But don't expect USDA appointees to be in place any time soon. They're caught in a FBI background check logjam that's government-wide. The full regiment of top-tier leadership at USDA may not be in place for several months and could stretch well into summer.

**This taken from parts of the National Grange Legislative update.


Writing Resolutions that Work
The Grange has a long history rooted in member participation in our policy development through our resolution process. Each Granger is tasked with addressing voids and surpluses in our policy and can propose to implement these changes by offering amendments to your local and State Granges. Drafting resolutions may seem like a daunting task at first, but if you follow three simple steps listed below, you will soon be on your way to writing a clear and effective resolution.

First, it is important to know the anatomy of a resolution. There are three main parts: the Title, the body or Whereas section, and the conclusion or Resolved section.

1. The Title should clearly state the issue to be addressed. For example, if you are drafting a measure to deregulate the postal service, your title should be something along the lines of:
Deregulation of the Postal Service rather than just Postal Service

2. The whereas section is where you get to make your argument for why this resolution is necessary. This section does not become policy but explains to other Grangers why the issue is important and provides details, data, and other reference material so they can be better educated on voting for the issue.
Whereas, the federal government imposes unreasonable regulations and mandates on the U.S. Postal Service but no longer funds any of the organization’s operating costs; and
Whereas, the U.S. Postal Service will continue to be forced to close local post offices and reduce services under such a business model; and
Whereas, the U.S. Postal Service could survive and compete if allowed to create its own business model free of Congressional oversight; and
Whereas, the National Grange has a rich tradition in helping to ensure the rural free delivery of mail; be it

3. The Resolved section must be a complete sentence which sums up what your resolution is trying to achieve and can stand alone without any of the supporting information.
Resolved, that the National Grange support legislation that creates an autonomous U.S. Postal Service which can set its own operating procedures and business model without the undue regulation of the federal government.

Writing Resolutions that Stand the Test of Time
In closing, make sure your resolution can stand the test of time. A good deal of Grange policy dates back 75 years or more and continues to be relevant because the ideals and concepts hold true today. However, we also have policy that is out-of-date and relates to issues that have been dealt with on the local and congressional levels. If you have a resolution that deals with an issue that is connected to a current event or particular bill, your resolution may be included in the committee of jurisdiction’s policy statement for that year, rather than passed as a resolution. Rest assured that this is still very important and is actually a better home for your resolution. Good luck and happy policy making!