DELEGATE CREDENTIALING Our state convention is rapidly approaching. It’s going to be in Lawrence at the Double Tree by Hilton December 4th and 5th.

As the years have gone by, we have gotten very casual about our credentialing of delegates being seated for the business meeting and the creation of the coming year’s policy of the Kansas Farmers Union. The attendees to the state convention have been stable and consistent to the direction that KFU has headed. It was straightforward to include all in the business our organization conducted each year at convention.

This is both good and possibly bad. Good in the fact that all are included and their input welcome.

Bad in the fact that renegades–those without the support of their county chapters–could potentially come in with their own opinions that might not be consistent with fellow county members as a whole. This hasn’t been a problem so far, but it has always been a possibility I’ve worried about. The casualness with which delegate credentialing has evolved into has been my fault entirely.

Now we have a new situation arising. It’s a great development, actually. Kansas Farmers Union is gaining many new members as a result of a 5% insurance premium discount being offered to Farmers Union Insurance policy holders. The discount is something I’ve championed for some years. It’s good to see it finally happening and gratifying that it’s having the intended effect of boosting our membership.

But with an influx of new members coming into the organization, there may be a lot of new members with a wider vision of what KFU policy should be than what it is now. That, too, can be really a good thing. But this makes it important now to follow our by-laws as they are laid out to represent the wishes of the county’s membership as a whole.

It is necessary for counties to hold meetings and to elect their delegates to convention. And county officers must submit their elected delegates to the state office for credentialing prior to the convention, before a delegate will be allowed to be seated to represent that county. Our bylaws state that:

4. Delegates

A. Each chartered county organization having 10 or more regular dues-paying members in good standing shall be entitled to at least one delegate and one alternate to the state convention. County organizations with more than 20 regular members in good standing shall be entitled to one delegate and alternate for each 20 regular members or major fraction thereof and in addition, one youth delegate per county, between age 16 and 21, with preference to young people active in the Farmers Union Youth Program. Delegates and alternates shall be elected for one (1) year in annual conventions of chartered county unions. An elected state office who is not a county delegate shall be entitled to all privileges of a delegate other than the right to vote.

B. Credentials for delegates and alternates shall be in the hands of the State Secretary at the State Office at least five (5) days before the first day of the convention: provided, however, credentials arriving later than five (5) days before the first day of the convention must be submitted to the credentials committee. The committee shall determine if the delegate or alternate is a duly qualified representative of a county organization. All credentials must be signed by the county secretary or in his absence, by the county president or, in their absence, the vice-president.

The formality of the credentialing and seating of the delegates is an important process necessary to allow all members to have a structured voice in the process of operating our state organization from a truly grass-roots tradition.