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Rob Cornilles Endorsed by Major Pesticide Lobby Group

Republican congressional candidate Rob Cornilles has gladly accepted the endorsement of a group he says represents the interests of the Oregon agricultural and logging industries, both big parts of the economy in the First Congressional district he's hopes to represent.

"Forestry and agriculture are among the key parts of this district's economy and OFS recognizes that, as a job creator, I understand how to help businesses compete and thrive," he said in the release.

It's true that Oregonians for Food and Shelter represents those industries—but it also lobbies on behalf of the pesticide and farm chemicals industry, a fact Cornilles did not mention in his Dec. 20 press release on the endorsement.

The OFS board of directors includes representatives from Monsanto, DuPont, Crop Production Services Inc. and Syngenta Crop Protection, none of which are based in Oregon.

The chair of the board of directors is Bruce Alber from the Wilber-Ellis Company, an international agribusiness giant that makes pesticides, animal feed and other farming chemicals. One of the board's two vice chairs is Mark Dunn from the J.R. Simplot Company, the Idaho-based potato grower that supplies about half the world's fast food French fries and is closely associated with McDonald's.

Paulette Pyle, the OFS grass roots director, said in the press release, “Rob has proven he can think outside the box on issues that matter to voters, balancing many different concerns such as growing jobs while protecting the environment and supporting reasonable regulations in agriculture and forestry.”
But while OFS does have many Oregon agricultural groups on the board, not one says it represents organic farmers. In Cornilles' district, organic farming has become a major industry, with pesticide-free operations like Carlton Farms selling its products on a national scale.

Cornilles haven't yet responded to several messages requesting comment. He faces Democrat Suzanne Bonamici and two third-party candidates in the Jan. 31 special election to replace U.S. Rep. David Wu.