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Rothenburger formally enters race for Ag Commissioner

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By Lisa King

 

 

 

 

 

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger made it official on Monday, filing papers to seek the Republican nomination for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner.

Rothenburger last summer briefly had explored seeking the GOP nomination for governor before announcing in September that he would seek to replace outgoing Commissioner Richie Farmer. On Monday, he submitted his formal paperwork to the Secretary of State’s office.

“Agriculture is my true passion,” he said. “I was raised on a dairy farm.”

This is Rothenburger’s first statewide race and he will face state Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville in the primary in May.

Rothenburger, who first was elected judge-executive in 2002 and was unopposed in November in his bid for a third term, said he wants to do more to represent and promote Kentucky’s farms and families and to bring more agriculture-related jobs to Kentucky.

“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is a diversified organization which requires a commissioner that provides a broad background,” he said in his announcement. “As a farmer and as a county judge-executive, I believe I am the candidate that offers the versatile skills that would benefit Kentucky farmers and families.”

Rothenburger, a former Shelbyville fire chief who lives on a 94-acre farm near Bagdad, said he plans to promote agriculture throughout the state by the following methods:

§       Continuing to expand the Kentucky Proud Program in all areas of Kentucky

§       Taking the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to the people through monthly regional meetings

§       Educating the public about Kentucky farm products

§       Promoting healthy lifestyles through Kentucky-grown products.

§       He added that he also plans to work to fight unnecessary federal regulations that are expensive and intrusive to state agriculture producers, and to work with the Governor’s office and the Cabinet of Economic Development to retain and expand agriculture-related jobs throughout the state.

“We have an excellent opportunity with our rich agricultural heritage and geographic position to recruit and expand agriculture-related businesses that would benefit Kentucky’s farms and families,” he said Tuesday. “My experience in working with government officials and private organizations to bring jobs into the county lends itself very well to job creation throughout the commonwealth.”

Doug Langley, a Shelby County farmer who was the 2009 Kentucky Farmer of the Year, signed Rothenburger’s papers as a witness Monday, as did Pat Hargadon, a beef cattle farmer and agency manage for Shelby County Farm Bureau.

“Rob has worked in agriculture all his life, and I know it’s where his true roots are,” Langley said. “I also know he’s made a lot of positive changes for the county as judge-executive and will do the same for Kentucky agriculture.”

Rothenburger said he is confident about his campaign and about his changes running against Comer.

 “I feel very good about the upcoming campaign,” he said. “I am running against a very qualified candidate, and I am looking forward to getting out and expressing my opinion and maybe having the chance for some healthy debates.”

Comer, a Monroe native, has served in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 2000 and has a commercial farming operation of 950 acres of beef cattle, mixed timber and hay.

He has a degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University and is a former statewide president of the Kentucky Future Farmers of America.

The Republican nominee will face the winner of a Democratic race that so far includes two candidates, Robert Farmer of Louisville and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort.

Rothenburger said he believes that having an opponent in the spring only provides him with more opportunity to prove his competence to voters.

“I think that having two qualified candidates will help draw voters out,” he said. “I look forward to representing Shelby County to the best of my ability as well as the state of Kentucky.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rothenburger's official announcement

 

Saying he wants to do more to represent and promote Kentucky’s farms, families and bring more agriculture-related jobs to the state, Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger on Monday formally filed his papers to run for Commissioner of Agriculture.

 

“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is a diversified organization which requires a commissioner that provides a broad background,” Rothenburger said. “As a farmer and as a county judge-executive, I believe I am the candidate that offers the versatile skills that would benefit Kentucky farmers and families.”

 

Rothenburger, a Republican, is currently Shelby County Judge-Executive, a position he has held for 8 years.  He is also a paramedic and former fire chief of the city of Shelbyville.  He lives on a 94-acre family farm near Bagdad, in eastern Shelby County.

 

Rothenburger said his plan to promote Kentucky farms and farm products include:

 

·            • Continuing to expand the Kentucky Proud Program in all areas of Kentucky

 

·            • Taking the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to the people through once-a-month regional meetings

 

·            • Educating the public about Kentucky farm products

 

·            • Promoting healthily lifestyles through Kentucky-grown products

 

 

Noting that Kentucky has lost agricultural employers over the years, including International Harvester in Louisville, Rothenburger said, when elected, he would also work with the Governor’s office, Department of Local Government (DLG) and the Cabinet of Economic Development to retain and expand agriculture-related jobs throughout the state.

 

“We have an excellent opportunity with our rich agricultural heritage and geographic position to recruit and expand agriculture-related businesses that would benefit Kentucky’s farms and families. My experience in working with government officials and private organizations to bring jobs into the county lends itself very well to job creation throughout the Commonwealth.”

 

Rothenburger said he would also work to fight unnecessary federal regulations that are expensive and intrusive to the state’s agriculture producers.

 

Rothenburger is running for the commissioner’s job currently held by Richie Farmer. Farmer is barred by law from seeking a third term in the office.

 

Rothenburger’s filing papers to run for the Ag Commissioner’s post were also signed by Shelby County farmer and 2009 Kentucky Farmer of the Year Doug Langley, who raises tobacco, grain and feeder cattle, and Pat Hargadon, a beef cattle farmer and agency manager for Shelby County Farm Bureau.

 

“Rob has worked in agriculture all his life, and I know it’s where his true roots are,” Langley said. “I also know he’s made a lot of positive changes for the county as judge-executive, and will do the same for Kentucky agriculture.”

 

Rothenburger grew up on a dairy and tobacco farm and operates a beef cattle and hay farm with his family.

 

In addition to his background in agriculture, Rothenburger touted his executive experience, which includes handling a $17 million to $19 million county budget and directing more than 200 full- and part-time employees. As Shelby County Judge-Executive, Rothenburger balanced the county’s budget every year, reduced county property taxes three times and opened government by establishing a website and eliminating the need for taxpayers to file an open records request to scrutinize the county’s budget.