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Leo runs for supe
Lifelong Grange member wants to protect locals from government harm
By Daniel Webster, Pioneer Press 4/9/08
It was the darkest day of Leo "T" Bergeron's life -- a moment seared into his memory. And it was at that time and place that Leo made a vow to himself and the people of Siskiyou County.
Bergeron had built up a successful beef operation called My Cow Enterprise MCE, where people could buy a share of beef, such as a half or whole, and he would raise it and take it to processing for them. It was a dynamic business until the price of hay skyrocketed and Leo lost his hard-earned ranch in Tracy.
Before his cattle went off to market to liquidate his assets, he cut his neighbor's fence and sent a few of them running into his neighbor's field. He came back later to fix the fence, knowing in time he could come back and hopefully get his cattle.
Several years passed before Bergeron was able to return. Lo and behold, his neighbor had not only watched his cattle, but kept track of their offspring. Without Bergeron knowing it, he had already been building up his new herd. It is this rag-tag herd of cattle that Leo ultimately moved to Montague. Today, he claims with pride that he has one of the best herds in the county.
He vows to never have this happen to him again and now offers this vow to his possible constituents: that if elected Supervisor, he will watch over them as well.
Raising his younger siblings on his own, Bergeron drove across the road and rebuilt his life and repaid every penny of his previous debt.
His wife Kathy, of 16 years, says that even though he may come off in a very fiery manner, in all actuality, he's "a big softy with a big heart."
Although the supervisors are all nice people and well intentioned, he said, their operation has become ingrown and it has to be changed.
"At 70 years old, I can't wait around any longer," Bergeron said.
If one would have followed Bergeron through life, one would seen that he has spent most of his trying to make a difference in people's lives.
"I try to make the place I live a better place," he said. "The Grange showed me who I actually was - it gave me my principles and philosophy.
He rose up through the Grange organization until he was elected State Master for California.
Through his efforts working with the Grange structure he was able to mount a petition drive to get the definition of fish habitat to remain water and sub-straights only, not 300 feet from the high water mark as was being promoted by the NMFS.
During this time, he became Master of the CSG and was able to unite the Granges on the west coast to make a joint effort to invalidate the listing of the Coho salmon as an endangered species. The effort was a success and the listing was ruled illegal and was invalidated. During this period, the Grange contested the listing of a number of species as endangered; they now need to prove it before it can be listed.
When asked what "T" stands for as his middle initial, he responded: Trouble. "When I was born, the doctor slapped my mother."
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