... on=Opinion

Chuck Steiner letter: A vote for CAFTA hurts the valley
The Forum
Published Saturday, July 23, 2005
Sugar farmers were recently offered a deal by the USDA in an attempt to buy our support for a flawed Central America Trade Pact that would leave thousands of Minnesotans without jobs.

We were told that if we supported CAFTA - a trade deal that will last forever - then the USDA would protect us from some unneeded, subsidized foreign sugar for two years. When we asked about the millions of tons of unneeded, subsidized sugar that would enter our market in 2008 and every year thereafter, the USDA said they couldn't help us.

This "deal" would do nothing to address real, permanent problems. It is just a short-term fix to a long-term problem, and that's why we said "no thanks."

Unfortunately, two Minnesota lawmakers came out in support of CAFTA and used this hollow deal for political cover. As a fellow Republican, I was shocked at their actions. That's a shame, because CAFTA - even with this deal - will send his constituents to the unemployment line.

CAFTA now moves to the House of Representatives, and it's important that our Congressmen not fall into the same trap. They need to hear from all Red River Valley sugar farmers and workers. They need to understand that a vote for CAFTA is the same as a vote against the region's 46,000 sugar farmers and workers. Write or call your representative and tell them to vote no on CAFTA.

Chuck Steiner

Sugar farmer and Republican

Foxhome, Minn.