Jean-Marie Lawson Spann defends Obama vote, says she too will be against EPA if elected ag commissioner

12/13/2014 10:03 AM

Jean-Marie Lawson Spann is currently the lone Democratic candidate running for agriculture commissioner in 2015, but she says the party label won’t be a factor in her statewide race — even if her GOP opponent wants to make one.

Lawson Spann, who hosts a weekly talk radio show on agriculture that airs in the Bowling Green and Glasgow radio markets on the AM band, announced her candidacy for the post in June. And in an interview on Pure Politics this week Lawson Spann said the position is one she was meant for.

“It’s a passion of mine. I have been preparing for this my entire life,” Lawson Spann said. “And, as Billy Ray Smith, former commissioner of agriculture said, I’m the right person at the right time with the right experiences and background to lead Kentucky agriculture.”

The position of agriculture commissioner will be open in 2015 as current commissioner James Comer pursues the Republican nomination for governor.

The open seat has drawn the interest of Republican Rep. Ryan Quarles of Georgetown, who announced his bid for the post Dec. 1.

Quarles is running his campaign in part against a proposed federal Environmental Protection Agency rule change to the Clean Water Act — something Lawson Spann says she also opposes.

“We have made our position very clear on that, and that is just one of the many issues as commissioner of agriculture that we will focus on,” Lawson Spann said.

“I agree with science … and what the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board is doing as far as testing the waters to prove that it is not our Kentucky farmers that are doing the bad things to the water.”

The EPA introduced the proposed rule changes earlier this year to comply with recent Supreme Court rulings and to protect seasonal and rain-dependent streams and wetlands in an effort to protect the drinking water supply. The rule change is meant to be a clarification of powers, not an expansion, Gina McCarthy, the agency’s administrator, has said.

In an interview with the Associated Press Lawson Spann said she had voted for President Barack Obama and would not be tied to the unpopular president — something she reiterated to Pure Politics on Thursday.

“Yes, as I said that did happen and you know of course we’re not in agreeance with his administration on the EPA on coal and several other things, but then there are other things that have gone well in Kentucky,” Lawson Spann said. (10:13)

“What we’re focused on are the positive things with our campaign and with our vision for the future of Kentucky agriculture.”

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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