James Comer

Kentucky Farm Receipts Hit All-Time High

Nov 26, 2014
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Sales receipts for Kentucky farmers reached record levels in 2013. The statistics were made available this week by the National Agriculture Statistics Service and showed the commonwealth's farmers raking in more than $5.6 billion dollars last year. 

It marked a 16 percent uptick from 2012. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer credits an excellent growing season, strong prices for crops, cattle and horses.

Kentucky’s top agriculture commodity: poultry and eggs, which accounted for $ 1.2 billion of the sales receipts. One sector of the agriculture industry that fell, however, was Kentucky tobacco crops which saw a one-percent decline.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

What’s next for Alison Lundergan Grimes? It’s a question some have been asking since the Secretary of State’s loss Tuesday night to incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.  A Bluegrass Poll taken a week before the election suggests voter enthusiasm is tepid with regards to Grimes running for Kentucky governor next year.  The poll found 33 percent of respondents wanted her to run.  Fifty percent did not and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only Democrat to enter the race so far.  Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and businessman Hal Heiner have entered the race on the GOP side.

Whitfield Endorses Comer For Governor

Oct 1, 2014
Office of Rep. Whitfield

Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has endorsed James Comer for governor.

Comer, the Republican state agriculture commissioner, is seeking the party's nomination for governor in 2015. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is also seeking the Republican nomination.

In a news release from the Comer campaign, Whitfield said he believes Comer's achievements as agriculture commissioner makes him the candidate with the best chance to take back the governor's office. Democrats have won nine of the last 10 governor's elections.

Whitfield has represented Kentucky's 1st Congressional District since 1994. The district includes the city of Tompkinsville, Comer's home.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and several state lawmakers also have endorsed Comer.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced Democrat in the race. He has endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.

Jonathan Meador, Kentucky Public Radio

Former Louisville Congresswoman Anne Northup has endorsed Republican state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer in his bid for the governor’s mansion.

Northup joined Comer for a press conference atop Waterfront Park’s Big Four pedestrian bridge Friday morning, commending the 2015 gubernatorial hopeful on his success in helping legalize industrial hemp in the state. She urged Republican voters in Jefferson County and across the state to support his candidacy.

“When Jamie told me that he was thinking about running for governor, I told him that I would be all in,” Northup said. “And that I would be so enthusiastic about him being the governor because I knew what a difference he could make.”

Northup’s endorsement is the campaign’s highest profile since Comer officially launched his bid earlier this month alongside running mate Chris McDaniel, a conservative freshman Republican state senator from Taylor Mill who owns a concrete construction business.

Twitter

Will the enduring popularity of former UK basketball star and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer affect the gubernatorial aspirations of Farmer’s successor, James Comer?

The man who ran for governor on a slate with Farmer says he doesn’t think that the gubernatorial campaign of Farmer’s successor will be affected by backlash over Farmer’s corruption investigation and conviction. 

Former Republican state Senate President David Williams unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2011 with Farmer as his running mate, losing handily to incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear and his running mate, Jerry Abramson.

Williams, now a Circuit Court Judge, made a show of support at the Comer campaign’s kick-off event Tuesday in Tompkinsville.

Jonathan Meador

Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and his running mate, State Senator Chris McDaniel, are framing their 2015 gubernatorial campaign around both conservative and liberal-leaning agenda items.

Following a campaign kick-off Tuesday before about 2,000 people, Comer and McDaniel discussed their support for right-to-work laws and lower corporate tax rates. They also offered ideas to create an earned income tax credit for working-class families and rescinding tax incentives for businesses that don’t pay employees a living wage.

But Comer told reporters that there’s a difference between his party and the Democrats, which control the state House.

“Democrats think that by simply raising the minimum wage, they’re going to stimulate the economy. The Republicans want to create a business-friendly environment," Comer said.

 Update: 12:50 p.m. 

James Comer has selected Republican State Sen. Chris McDaniel as his running mate. McDaniel's Northern Kentucky district covers part of Kenton County.

Original Post:

Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner will go home to formally kick off his 2015 campaign for governor.  James Comer will roll out his campaign and announce a running mate Tuesday in his native Monroe County.

"I want to be a governor for all Kentuckians and there are so many parts of this state that are forgotten about by Frankfort," Comer told WKU Public Radio.  "I'm proud of Tompkinsville, I'm proud to be from a small town,  and I'm proud of my friends and family.  I think if you want to know something about a candidate, go to their hometown and see the people they grew up with, their former teachers, friends, classmates, and business partners, and ask 'What kind of guy is this?'"

Comer served as a state representative for 11 years before being elected Agriculture Commissioner in 2012.  Many of the reforms he brought to the troubled Agriculture Department will be part of his gubernatorial platform.

Comer announced last month that he was running for Governor, and is joined by fellow Republican Hal Heiner and Democrat Jack Conway as candidates who have formally announced gubernatorial intentions.

Warren County Republican Party Chairman Scott Lasley says Comer’s time as Agriculture Commissioner gave him the opportunity to travel the state and build up contacts that could benefit him during his run for governor.

Kentucky LRC

Hardin County State Senator Dennis Parrett tells the Herald-Leader he’s “definitely considering” a run for state agriculture commissioner in 2015.  Parrett, who co-owns a farming company, has served in the Senate since 2011. 

Bowling Green radio host Jean-Marie Lawson Spann, a fellow Democrat, announced this summer she’s running for Agriculture Commissioner. 

The current holder of that office, James Comer, is planning to officially enter the governor’s race Sept. 9th.

Hal Heiner campaign

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner says he isn’t sure whether burning fossil fuels like coal contributes to climate change.

 Heiner spoke to Kentucky Public Radio at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s country ham breakfast last Thursday, saying that he’s on the fence when it comes to climate science.

“I don’t have a scientific position, on contribution or not, but what I do know is … if we’re going to stay economically competitive in a global marketplace, we have to burn coal,” said Heiner.

Heiner recently attacked his primary opponent, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, over comments he made last year that the state needs to move “beyond coal.”

Lisa Autry

Commissioner James Comer says many of the reforms he brought to the Kentucky Agriculture Department are needed across state government.  The gubernatorial candidate was in Bowling Green Friday speaking to the group Leadership Kentucky. 

Since taking the reins in 2012, Comer talked about how the Agriculture Department has become more accountable, transparent, and efficient which he said will be talking points on the campaign trail.

"The next governor will have to make some tough decisions.  The next governor will have to pay for this Medicaid expansion and find a way to infuse money into this pension system that threatens to bankrupt the state," explained Comer.  "We're going to go back to the Department of Agriculture on how we've saved money and shrunk the size of our government agency while doing more for the taxpayers because that's what we're going to have to do in all of state government in the future."

After the speech, Comer declined to comment on rumblings that he has picked State Senator Chris McDaniel as his running mate. 

"I'll say this about State Senator Chris McDaniel.  I'm a big fan of his.  He's had huge success in the private sector with a business he started," added Comer.  "In my opinion, he's proven himself to be one of the smartest guys in Frankfort.  He's passionate about finding waste, fraud, and abuse in state government and I think that's something the next administration is going to have to take seriously."

Comer will officially launch his gubernatorial bid and announce his running mate September 9 in his hometown of Tompkinsville. 

Louisville businessman Hal Heiner is also seeking the Republican nomination for governor.  Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced Democratic candidate in the 2015 race.

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