Like many of the ancillary positions we have fielded endorsements in over the past weeks, the Agriculture Commissioner is a position that confuses many. Indeed, we would reckon most Texans do not know all the unique and diverse and responsibilities the elected office comes with. While the Commissioner of Agriculture may have a broad responsibility to look over the farms and ranches of the State and ensure meaningful and smart regulation over those process, the office actually consists of far more.
As much as we may execrate the incumbent, Todd Staples, he has done one at least one thing remarkably well, and that is explaining just what the office does. In an –albeit ridiculous– commercial from 2010 that features a horse, Staples delineates the duties of his post, which also include regulation of Gas Pumps and of School Lunches. For these important obligations, Texans deserve a no-nonsense non-partisan who will uphold the best interest of all the community, not just the miniscule portion of the electorate who votes in Republican primaries.
Accordingly, we have not been big fans of either Sid Miller or Tommy Merritt thus far in the campaign. Much like our previous qualms in the races for both Comptroller and Railroad Commissioner, we are generally not supportive of such candidates. Miller touts Second Amendment support, anti-abortion rights and Tea Party histories, with not a single reference on the homepage of his website to Agriculture. Similarly, Merritt has focused on these unrelated issues too much –though not nearly to the same extent as Miller. Both of these men are former State Representatives, the type who now seek these Statewide elected offices as a type of political rung-climbing.
Instead, we look to J. Allen Carnes, the Mayor of Uvalde. As the only candidate with actual executive experience, Carnes has the capacity to make the biggest positive difference as the Agriculture Commissioner. As an elected official in a municipality, he is not elected under any partisan banner, and therefore has experience catering to his entire constituency, not just a small minority.
Not surprisingly, while Miller and Merritt have been fighting over the NRA and the like, Carnes has silently been accumulating countless endorsements and nods from the agriculture and ranching industries, and indeed appears to be the consensus candidate among those industries. Be it the Texas Farm Beau, Beef PAC, Texas Citrus Mutual, Corn Producers Association of Texas, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers, Texas International Produce Association, Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group, Texas Vegetable Association, Texas Wheat Association or Texas Wildlife Association, Carnes is literally the unanimous pick of the who’s who in the agricultural business.
In addition to his focus on actually pertinent issues, Carnes pragmatic viewpoints have even caused many cursory observers go so far as to assume he is a Democrat. Carnes is not a Democrat, but he has the same pragmatism and positives we often note in Democratic candidates. His opponents might think that makes him a RINO; we think it makes him ideal. We also note the focused campaign of Eric Opiela, but we think J. Allen Carnes is by far the superior choice.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans.