Ryan Quarles, republican candidate for Ky Agriculture Commissioner, called us last week and wanted to stop by for a brief visit. Quarles, a Ky State Rep from District 62 said he's running for Ag Commissioner because "Kentucky deserves a commissioner with a real farm background." He says that growing up on a rural family farm in Scott County (Georgetown area) raising cattle, tobacco, and working in a real-crop operation has helped prepared him for the position. "Farming and Agri-businesses are unique, and they're not 9-5 jobs," he said. "In rural KY, agriculture is a dominant factor in the local economy, as it is here in Edmonson County, and it's important to have an Ag Commissioner who understands that."
Quarles has a background in Ag Policy and graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, where he holds three degrees, including a masters in Agriculture Economics and a masters in International Trade. He was elected to the Ky General Assembly in 2010 and says he currently serves as an active voice in the farming community all across the Commonwealth.
"The Ag Commissioner's office is a voice for rural Kentucky," he said. "Something that's sometimes absent in Frankfort. I want to not only be a voice in the farming community, but also all of rural Kentucky."
Quarles said that his campaign is centered around four major ideas:
1. Expanding "Kentucky Proud." He says KY can be known nationally for several products with the right marketing (like Idaho with potatoes, FL with orange juice, etc.) Beef cattle being one of those
2. Educating KY In Agriculture. Rep. Quarles wants to start in the classroom and fight against government regulations that are keeping some good KY foods out of schools. He also wants to find areas where agriculture can meet up with science curriculum in KY schools.
3. International Trade. "KY is an ag-export state, meaning most of our commodities end up overseas. The Obama administration has intentionally excluded some KY ag products for non-scientific reasons. As Ag Commissioner, I'll fight to include legal ag products in areas of growth abroad. Bottom line: I'll speak up for international opportunities for KY."
4. Pushing Back Against Obama's Overreach Through The EPA. "We've seen what the EPA has done to the coal industry in our state," he said. "Now, they're after our family farms. The EPA is trying to gain jurisdiction over established farming practices. We don't need bureaucrats on the family farm."
Rep. Quarles explained his platform in much greater detail than we've reported here and was very confident in why he was running for office and what he plans to do if elected, as most candidates. At the end of our conversation, we point blank asked him, "Why should people in Edmonson County vote for you?"
"Elect a farm candidate." He quickly said. "Elect a candidate who not only experienced a farm upbringing, but also understands implications in a rural state like KY. I'm proud to have help from people like Rep. Michael Meredith and Congressman Brett Guthrie as well. I humbly ask this community's support on election day, Tuesday, May 19th."
Does Rep. Quarles have what it takes to be the best choice for Ag Commissioner? He certainly feels so, and time will tell if he's elected. One thing Edmonson Countians have always looked for in a candidate, no matter the race, was one that is genuine. We can say that Rep. Quarles is a genuine candidate that certainly seems like he's running for the right reasons. We thank him and members of his team for stopping by and for the great interview. We wish him well for the remainder of his campaign and on election day.
You can find out more about his platform and campaign at RyanQuarles.com.
Edmonson Voice Staff