Commissioner of Agriculture -- No Endorsement
Our first endorsement is a non-endorsement. In the race for commissioner of agriculture, incumbent Richie Farmer is taking on Democrat challenger David L. Williams. We offer no endorsement in this race.
Commissioner of agriculture is an elective office that should be abolished. No other commissioners are elected in this state. We don't elect our highway commissioner or property tax commissioner or public health commissioner. We see no reason to elect the commissioner of agriculture. By abolishing this as an elective office and having it become an appointed position in the executive branch, some duplication of government services could be abolished. There is currently a Governor's Office of Agriculture Policy, which we see as not needed. This office was started by the Patton administration to handle the tobacco buyout program, but has carried over because agriculture is such an important part of our state's economy yet the Department of Agriculture operates independently of the rest of the executive branch.
But until such time as the legislature and the voters see fit to eliminate this elective office, we will still be holding an election for it every four years. And this year our choices are Farmer and Williams.
Farmer, of course, is the University of Kentucky and Clay County High School basketball legend. By most accounts he's done a decent job of marketing the state's agriculture industry during his four-year term. Williams is a perennial candidate who's changed parties between Democrat and Republican several times.
In ordinary times, we'd endorse Farmer for this post, but these are not ordinary times. During a period in which Kentucky's Republican governor has endured the slings and arrows of the Democrats, the enormously-popular Farmer has done little or nothing to show support for his party's under-siege executive. Farmer is from one of the few GOP stronghold areas in the state and his vocal support of Fletcher could have been helpful. We're not sure what Farmer's motivation was. He's a rock star in Kentucky but we aren't sure if he has aspirations for higher office. And we're honestly not convinced that he'd be qualified to move further up the ladder. He's personable and can hit the 22-foot jump shot, but we aren't sold on his intellectual capabilities to be secretary of state or auditor or lieutenat governor or governor.
We don't think Williams is worthy of your vote and support. But quite honestly, we don't think Farmer has earned the right to be supported by conservative Republicans in his re-election bid. We believe Farmer to be the superior candidate, but we are withholding our endorsement of him in this race. And we are looking forward to the time when the commissioner of agriculture will no longer be an elective office.