Chapman replacing Blake as chair of Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources committee

24th District Representative Mike Chapman has been elected chair of the Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources committee.

Formerly chaired by Representative Brian Blake, another local legislator will be leading the state committee dedicated to timber and farm country.

“It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of the previous chair, Rep. Brian Blake,” Chapman said. “Whatever we accomplish in this committee will only build on the good work he did along with the members of the committee from both parties and every corner of the state. We work hard because the people we’re fighting for—in farming, logging, or fishing—work even harder, day after day.” 

Blake lost his re-election bid this year, leaving the gap in the role as chair.

As chair, Chapman will serve as leader on bills related to rural development, “as well as issues relating to agricultural production, marketing, and sales; animal and plant disease control; fisheries and wildlife; forest practices and forest fire protection; water; and mining. The committee also considers the management of certain state-owned lands”.

Chapman previously served as vice chair of the committee and as a county commissioner. 

“Rural areas got hit the hardest by the virus,” Chapman said. “Small businesses are hurting, and working moms and dads are struggling to find child care—or to work from home while they have students trying to learn from home, often without fast internet. Those are some of the everyday, kitchen-table issues that we need to come together on, as Democrats and Republicans, in a spirit of bipartisanship.” 

The 2021 session of the Legislature will be different, with the House choosing that the safest option is a remote session until the virus is vanquished. Committee meetings, floor debate, and votes will all be done remotely. 

“Your voice matters to me,” Chapman said. “I want to hear your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Please stay informed and involved in your democracy, which is only strong when everybody has a chance to participate and be heard.”