Rep. Comer calls for transparency as part of Ag commissioner platform

11/05/2010 07:00 PM

Republican State Rep. Jamie Comer said he has a coalition of supporters from the agriculture community, Republican establishment and tea party movement who are behind his candidacy for commissioner of agriculture.

Comer said he will file his candidacy papers Wednesday.

Comer told Pure Politics that a key part of his platform will be opening up the books on the $29 million annual budget for the department — something he said will fit in with the tea party.

He also responded to some of the articles that have been written regarding the financial moves of current Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. Farmer is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Republican Senate President David Williams.

Comer said he didn’t think it was a mistake for the department to purchase $621,000 worth of new vehicles because of all the duties the 300 people in the department have that require travel, such as inspecting gasoline pumps across the state and checking weights and measures of food products.

But he said he wouldn’t have had the department purchase a $35,000 SUV for himself, as the Courier-Journal first reported.

“Probably not,” he said. “I’ve always driven my own vehicle.”

Comer also was one of the first state officials to publicly get behind Rand Paul’s U.S. Senate bid. He said it remains to be seen what kind of political force Paul will be in next year’s races. Paul, so far, has said he’ll avoid weighing into the GOP primary for governor, which so far pits Williams and Farmer against a ticket of Phil Moffett and state Rep. Mike Harmon.

Of Paul, Comer said: “He had the right message. And he’s going to be a leader in Washington, D.C.”

- Ryan Alessi


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