Comer says crossover support from Democrats means policy, not party will guide him

12/06/2011 07:21 AM

James Comer says partisanship will take a back seat to policy in his term agriculture commissioner. And two numbers can explain why: 39 and 519,183.

The latter is the number of votes he received — the most of any candidate in the Nov. 8 election.

“At the end of the day, I’m not going to be a partisan Republican hack,” Comer said (starting at 4:30 of the video). “A lot of Democrats crossed over and voted for me. I appreciate that. My base in this election was the agriculture community.”

The 39 is Comer’s age — making him one of four members of Generation X to serve the next four years in a statewide office along with Attorney General Jack Conway, auditor-elect Adam Edelen and secretary-of-state-elect Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Comer said he believes in Republican Party principles but plans to work with his fellow Gen Xers.

“We care about Kentucky. We want to work together to improve the lives for our good hard-working Kentuckians,” Comer said (3:15). “It’s not about the party. It’s about the person, it’s about the policy … I believe party means less every day.”

Still, Comer has already begun lending out his GOP star power as the lone statewide officer to help his former legislative colleagues and other Republicans raise money. Comer said he has committed to headline six fundraisers, including a Dec. 14 event in Edgewood for Chris McDaniel. McDaniel volunteered for Comer’s campaign and is running for the 23rd state Senate district to replace retiring Sen. Jack Westwood.

Comer, who served a decade in the state House, also said he expects his former colleagues to pass a constitutional amendment to allow expanded gambling this year.

“I think so,” Comer said of whether he believes this is the year it will pass the legislature.

Find out what Comer else has to say about his agenda for his first legislative session as agriculture commissioner (0:30 to 2:00).

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