SALEM — Two representatives of the #TimberUnity movement have been invited to the White House July 8 to hear President Trump deliver remarks on America’s environmental leadership.
Todd Stoffel, of GT Stoffel Trucking, will represent Oregon’s trucking and logging industries.
Marie Bowers, a fifth-generation grass seed farmer whose family runs Bashaw Land & Seed, will represent Oregon’s farming and agricultural industries.
“It’s a giant deal to have the president listen to loggers and farmers,” said Mike Pihl, spokesperson for #TimberUnity and owner of Mike Pihl Logging, Inc.
The president’s invitation comes in the aftermath of the 2019 Oregon Legislative session, which brought a wave of rural Oregonians to the Capitol, where they protested controversial climate bills.
In the final weeks of the legislative session, truckers, loggers, farmers and people representing other rural industries rallied against HB 2020, a bill to limit carbon emissions, outside the Capitol. Thousands of trucks and other vehicles filled the streets.
The protests — and the controversial walk-out of Senate Republicans — made national news.
Industry members Scott Hileman and Jeff Leavy started #TimberUnity June 6 as a grassroots effort. As the movement gained traction and members, it evolved into a Facebook page community. The group registered as a political action committee on June 20, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.
Pihl hopes Stoffel and Bowers will be able to talk to the president about a variety of concerns rural Americans face.
“I got selected because of my involvement in #TimberUnity and because I’m a farmer,” Bowers said. “I’m just a grass seed farmer with a baby going to the White House. I hope I can represent every farmer in Oregon and show them that their voice matters.”
Both Bowers and Pihl said they are amazed by how many people support the #TimberUnity movement.
“Farmers and loggers are pretty independent groups that don’t usually work together,” Pihl said. “HB 2020 brought them together. When was the last time this many working people got together and made a difference at the Capitol? Never happens. But we did make a difference, and we caught the eye of President Trump and his administration. Our voices have been heard. We intend to keep talking about rural America.”