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State ag commissioner races starting to heat up

State ag commissioner races starting to heat up

At least two states will have new ag representatives in 2022

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

State politicians are entering races to represent farmers as the next secretary, director or commissioner of the state’s agricultural department.

In Georgia, for example, Republican Senator Tyler Harper launched his campaign to succeed Gary Black as the state’s agriculture commissioner.

Black, who was elected as Georgia’s ag commissioner in 2010, has entered the U.S. Senate race against Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Harper, a seventh-generation producer from Ocilla, Ga., promises to protect the farmers he hopes to represent.

“I’ll stand up to foreign competitors,” he said in a campaign video on Tuesday. “Stand up to those who want to change our way of life. And I’ll protect Georgia values. Defending our farmers from bad policies.”

Nakita Hemingway, a cut-flower grower, hopes to represent Georgia agriculture on behalf of the Democrats.

If elected, Hemingway commits to using agriculture as a tool to help other parts of the state.

“Our state has so much potential,” she said while announcing her candidacy, ABC 17 News reported. “We can use agriculture to overcome many challenges around food insecurity, poverty and economic development in our rural and underserved communities. And with the right leadership, I know that we can build a more prosperous future for all Georgians.”

In Florida, some candidates have announced their intentions to replace Democrat Nikki Fried as ag commissioner as she has entered the gubernatorial race against Rick DeSantis.

Ryan Morales, a Democrat and political consultant, hopes to succeed Fried and build on the work she’s started.

Moralres’s goals include legalizing cannabis and supporting farmers and business owners as they recover from COVID-19.

Two Republicans have announced their candidacy for Florida’s top ag job.

James Shaw, a Florida businessman, promises to let farmers farm, protect consumers and uphold second amendment rights.

Richard Olle, an ag inspector, has also announced his intentions to run for Florida ag commissioner.

In Texas, the state’s current ag commissioner is seeking reelection.

Republican Sid Miller announced Monday he would run for another term as the head of the Texas Department of Agriculture, a post he’s held since 2015.

His announcement came after speculation he would challenge Greg Abbott in the governor’s race.

“I really have the best and most rewarding job in the world,” Miller said in a statement, the Texas Tribune reported. “That’s why, after listening to the advice of supporters, friends and my team, I have decided that I can best serve Texas by continuing this important work.”

No Democratic candidates have been announced as of Wednesday.

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