GMO Ballot Measure Draws Big Money

4-05-jbo-gmo-banMEDFORD, Ore. – One house at a time, nearly 50 volunteers charged through Jackson County neighborhoods Saturday morning trying to spread the word.

“We’re looking for assistance on the phone, we’re looking for assistance on the streets, we’re looking for stuff in envelopes, fliers, whatever it is,” said volunteer Mariska Pactwa.

The canvassing is part of a campaign for a genetically modified crops ban that is becoming increasingly outspent.

This week the opposition blew open its lead.

“The largest chemical companies in the world have just donated just over $450,000,” said Elise Higley, the Campaign Manager with the Our Family Farms Coalition.

Data from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office shows that recent infusion of cash, given to the Political Action Committee (PAC) opposing the ballot measure, brings their total funds to $812,910. The 19 out-of-state donors for that PAC have averaged $29,611 apiece.

Meanwhile, the two PAC’s supporting the measure have raised roughly a quarter of that ($205,917), with all but five of their donors coming from in-state. Their out-of-state donors have a much lower average donation at $11,196.

“We’re definitely a little bit frustrated and angered by the fact that so much outside money is coming in for a county measure,” Higley said.

In total, more than $1 million have been spent on campaigning and advertising in Jackson County. But local campaigners say their relatively small bank account can be used to their advantage.

“In some way it really inspires us,” said Higley. “It’s calling a lot more people into action.”

The final date to register to vote for this election cycle is April 29.

If you would like to look at campaign finances for this or other ballot measures, all of the information is available to the public at http://sos.oregon.gov/elections.

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