EPA and TPP is a fundraising "scare tactic" Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate says

08/05/2015 11:40 AM

GILBERTSVILLE — As Republican agriculture commissioner candidate Ryan Quarles, and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell have been sending letters and rallying their troops to protect tobacco in the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal Democratic candidate Jean Marie Lawson Spann is warning of the move as a campaign fear tactic and fundraising tool.

Last week McConnell sent a third letter to President Obama’s top trade representative negotiating the 12 nation trade deal in the Pacific Rim asking that Kentucky tobacco be protected in the trade pact.

On the same day McConnell sent the letter, Pure Politics reported on Quarles’ campaign emailing supporters in an effort to protect tobacco in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and solicit campaign donations.

Ahead of the annual Marshall County Democratic Bean Dinner in Gilbertsville on Friday
Pure Politics asked Lawson Spann about the Trans Pacific Partnership and if fears of a tobacco carve out we’re warranted.

“Just as they’re talking about that, and they’re talking about the EPA — they put out different scare tactics — we’re focused on positive things that won’t scare our Kentucky farm families,” Lawson Spann said.

“There’s a pattern there, when they talk about the EPA to try to scare our Kentucky farm families, and then try to raise money out of that…that’s not the way to do this, we want to work together with everyone and talk about all the positive things that are going on in Kentucky agriculture.”

Lawson Spann never directly referenced the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but she did focus her comments on the EPA and the waterways of the U.S. rule which has drawn swift opposition from Republicans, including Quarles.

When pressed by reporters, Lawson Spann said the issues of the EPA “are of concern, but there’s many more issues too.”

“We don’t want to use the EPA as a fundraising tool as the other side has done,” she said.

In response to Lawson Spann, Quarles, who spoke to Pure Politics in Mayfield on Saturday morning before the Republican breakfast, said that “it’s very important” to fight for access into international markets for Kentucky agriculture.

“I think it’s important that if there is a growth area for Kentucky farmers and producers the next Ag commissioner needs to fight to make sure there is a place at the bargaining table with international markets,” he said.

Eighty percent of tobacco grown in Kentucky is exported. The Kentucky Farm Bureau says they’re closely watching the trade deal to ensure no single legal commodity should be kept from a free trade agreement.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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