Quarles, part of advisory panel to nominee, unconcerned with Trump campaign staff moves as Grimes says she'll stump for Clinton where needed

08/18/2016 04:12 PM

LOUISVILLE — National politics mixed with staples like locally produced eggs, pork and sausage during Thursday’s Kentucky Commodity Breakfast, with a pair of young constitutional officers taking more pronounced roles in the campaigns of their parties’ presidential nominees.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was named to a panel advising GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on agricultural issues on Tuesday. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who spoke in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, stumped for Clinton at the Iowa Wing Ding dinner on Friday.

Quarles says he’s happy to be among more than 60 agricultural advisers to Trump’s campaign and hopes to see the Republican nominee campaign on new federal Waters of the U.S. guidelines and the country’s guest visa program, among other items affecting the state’s agricultural economy.

“These are regulations that may be well intentioned but have adverse impact on the farm community,” Quarles, referencing federal water regulations, told Pure Politics after the breakfast outside the Kentucky Exposition Center.

For Grimes, she says she’ll be wherever she’s needed by the Clinton campaign.

“I most recently was privileged to go out to Iowa, another farm-family community, and talk with the folks there about the work that Secretary Clinton has done and will continue to do in the White House,” she told reporters Thursday morning before serving breakfast.

The presidential campaign has had its fireworks. On Wednesday, Trump added a new campaign chief and a new campaign manager.

While some within the Republican Party see that as a puzzling move this late in the election season, Quarles says he sees plenty of time of the GOP nominee to make such adjustments.

Other allies support Trump’s moves, with freshman Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., telling Politico that’s the nominee’s decision is “indicative of what good campaigns do.”

“We just concluded Fancy Farm in Kentucky,” Quarles said. “The election season is just getting started. It’s a long way to November, and I’m focused on helping out and building consensus about what’s best for agriculture when advising the campaign.”

While their political allegiances may differ, there’s one thing that Republicans like Quarles and Gov. Matt Bevin and Democrats like Grimes can agree on.

“The commodity breakfast this morning, the kickoff to our state fair, it’s a great time,” Grimes said.

Said Bevin: “It’s a chance to celebrate our ag community, but also it’s just a great day to kick off the fair. There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of buzz. It honestly feels like the backside of Derby before Derby day.”

While Grimes and Quarles touched on their extracurricular activities, Bevin had little of such talk.

When asked about progress made in his administration’s waiver for a revamped Medicaid delivery model, Bevin focused instead on the commodity breakfast.

“We’re at the opening day of the fair,” Bevin said. “Is there anybody who really wants to discuss Medicaid waivers.”

“It’s been going on for months,” he added. “It is a process that is continuing. We’re here today to celebrate food. If you hear, I’m being called to serve breakfast, so that’s what I’m going to go do.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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