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Mr. President, come pick an apple and catch a salmon in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 August 2013 at 12:00 am

The president will be in Western New York next week as part of a two-day trip across upstate and Pennsylvania.

He will use venues to tout his agenda for the middle class. I think Orleans County provides an ideal backdrop for the president to make his case for many issues that are part of his agenda, including the immigration reform, a new Farm Bill, a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem and a strong Main Street.

While the president’s staff works to finalize the details of his trip, I would encourage the local officials in Orleans to invite the president to our county. Chris Collins, our Congressional representative, also should advocate the president come to our county.

Obama could begin the day on a charter boat, and try to reel in a 30-pound Chinook salmon. The president could experience one of the Great Lakes in person, learning about the Lake Ontario as an economic driver for the lakeshore counties and also as a vital source of fresh drinking water.

After the fishing trip, he could stop by one of our apple orchards. I would encourage him to try picking apples to get a feel for the hard work needed to harvest the crop. He could meet some of the workers from Mexico and Jamaica who are vital to labor intensive agriculture.

I would encourage the president to then hop on a canal boat in Albion and ride to Medina. He could see small upstate communities along the historic waterway, villages that are trying to reinvent themselves while preserving their past glory. When he gets off the boat in Medina, the president may feel like he is in Disneyland. There aren’t a lot of historic downtowns like Medina, with well-kept buildings that are mostly full of merchants or professionals.

Obama could hear from the small town business owners about the impacts of his health care initiatives. I think he’ll get honest, from the heart answers.

I think a stop in Orleans would be a real eye-opener. Let’s roll out the welcome mat.