Democratic candidate Stewart Gritton says Richie Farmer has been a 'great help' to KY farms

01/19/2011 08:27 PM

Retired Agriculture Department employee Stewart Gritton praised the work of current Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, a Republican, particularly, for the “Kentucky Proud” program aimed at raising the profile of foods grown or raised in Kentucky.

“I’m not sure how extensive his agriculture background was, but I think it’s more on the marketing side that he’s been a great help to agriculture in Kentucky,” Gritton said of Farmer during an appearance on Pure Politics on Wednesday.

Gritton worked for more than six years under Farmer as well as for two other agriculture commissioners: Ed Logsdon in 1995 and Billy Ray Smith from 1996 through 2003. Gritton spent most of that time working with fair boards around Kentucky.

Gritton said he opposes a measure that would ban smoking in private businesses. One of his opponents in the Democratic primary, B.D. Wilson,  said on Pure Politics on Tuesday that he also opposes a statewide smoking ban because he said that needs to be handled by local communities.

The Democratic primary for Agriculture Commissioner already is crowded. Gritton faces B.D. Wilson, the former state commissioner of rural roads; Robert Farmer, a Louisville marketing consultant; and David L. Williams, a frequent candidate from Glasgow.

Gritton has received the backing of several key Democrats, including state Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville and Rep. Royce Adams of Dry Ridge.

He also said he has endorsements lined up from two Democratic officials in the home county of one of his rivals in the primary — Wilson — who is the former Montgomery County judge-executive. Gritton said he has the support of state Rep. Richard Henderson of Jeffersonville and Bill Johnson, a Montgomery County resident and former transportation official during Gov. Paul Patton’s administration.

- Ryan Alessi

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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