Local News Noise & Notes Politics

KFB Questionnaire Sparks Fresh Attacks in Ag Commissioner Race

The Kentucky Farm Bureau released the results of a survey on Tuesday that was sent to measure the views of candidates vying for agriculture commissioner, but one has failed to respond on time and has asked for an extension.

The survey includes dozens of questions about department budget cuts, animal regulations and crop inspections, among other things. It was given to candidates with a deadline of October 25, which Republican James Comer met and Democrat Bob Farmer did not.

Kentucky Farm Bureau Director of Public Affairs Jeff Harper says the survey is an important way for Kentucky farmers to look over the candidate’s positions and could have an impact on the election.

“It is important for the candidates to fill out the survey so our membership can determine or see their views on pertinent issues that affect our membership’s livelihood. So, we think it is important, we go through the time craft the questions that we believe as a farm organization is important to the future of Kentucky agriculture,” he says. “If folks go online and see one candidate’s response and others not and then do not go back, it may or may not have an impact on their decision on November 8.”

Harper says the group granted Farmer an extension that he asked for because of a bus tour with Governor Steve Beshear and other Democratic candidates.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Courier-Journal Endorses Comer for Agriculture Commissioner

The Louisville Courier-Journal endorsed Republican James Comer over Democrat Bob Farmer for Kentucky agriculture commissioner on Sunday, calling the Tompkinsville state representative the “clear and easy choice” in the race.

In a previous interview, Comer stressed using vacant properties for urban food safety initiatives, which is among his many other ideas to improve the department’s profile and programming. Besides praising Comer as the more qualified candidate, the newspaper also took time to take a swipe at his opponent, persuading voters to avoid a straight party ticket choice when going to the polls this November.

From the C-J:

The Democratic challenger, Robert Farmer (or “Farmer Bob,” as he bills himself), is a Louisville marketing executive (not a farmer, and no relation to Richie Farmer, the outgoing incumbent now running for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket) who tries to cast that experience as superior to Mr. Comer’s.

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KET Debates Begin Tonight

The first of eight special election episodes of Kentucky Tonight will air on KET this evening.

All candidates for statewide office this year have agreed to appear live on the show. Monday, the candidates of Agriculture Commissioner will debate. Democrat Bob Farmer and Republican James Comer will appear for one hour starting at 8 pm.

Next week, the three candidates for State Treasurer will debate. That show will feature Libertarian candidate Kenneth Moellman, who was the only treasurer candidate not to speak at last month’s Fancy Farm picnic.

The candidates for other offices will appear in the following weeks. Two shows with the gubernatorial candidates have been scheduled, however, Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear will only participate in one. He will forgo the September 26th debate on education. Republican candidate David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith will appear without him. All three will debate on KET on October 31st.

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Vacant Land Could Pave Way for Food Safety, Says Comer

Republican candidate for agriculture commissioner James Comer wants to utilize some of Louisville’s abandoned properties for community gardens to address the lack of fresh produce in low-income areas.

The GOP nominee and state representative says it is a challenge to hold the attention of urban voters while running for this office, but this project could provide a segue to discuss bolstering economic development in rural communities and provide agricultural needs in urban centers.

Comer says he’s talked to other state representatives in the Jefferson County delegation about creating this urban-agricultural initiative, which would mirror a program in Chicago. It would also partner with state universities to address food security.

“And I drive around Louisville, especially in more of the poverty stricken areas and I see a lot of abandoned land and it’s close to the Ohio River so it’s good land. I mean the soil is good,” says Comer, who represents parts of southeastern Kentucky. “We could have a lot of gardens pop up all around Louisville and it’s a project that I want to make a priority for me and I’m real excited about it.”

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Ag Commissioner Candidate Proposes Regional Offices

Democratic candidate for Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Farmer is proposing four new regional offices to be placed throughout the state in order to provide better resources to residents and bring services closer to local farmers.

“It just makes sense to have regional offices that specialize in those commodities in those regions and really be a voice to those local areas..” says Farmer campaign manager Matt Wyatt. “It’s really top down right now. You have to go to Frankfort. And we want to bring Frankfort out to the people.”

Locations for the offices will be determined at a later date, but Wyatt says the idea will give state assistance programs a local perspective and a more convenient location.

The Farmer campaign believes state farmers will be afforded a wide range of services targeted to their particular area and business with special emphasis on regulatory, pesticide and marketing expertise.

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UPDATE: Comer, Farmer Wins Primaries For Ag Commissioner

The Republican nominee for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner will be state lawmaker James Comer, who defeated Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger in the GOP primary.

Bob Farmer of Louisville led a five-person field in winning the Democratic nomination for the seat, now held by Republican Richie Farmer. Richie Farmer is in his second and final term and is a candidate for Lt. Governor.