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 Kinky Friedman to run for agricultural commissioner

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Number of posts : 21
Age : 52
Location : Texas
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Registration date : 2009-10-24

PostSubject: Kinky Friedman to run for agricultural commissioner   12/15/2009, 4:35 am

Friedman drops out of governor's race

By Tim Sampson
The Daily Times

Published December 15, 2009

Medina humorist and musician Kinky Friedman announced Monday that he was withdrawing from the Texas gubernatorial race to instead campaign to become the state’s agricultural commissioner.

Friedman, a Democrat who launched his second bid for the state’s highest office in September, made the decision after conferring with the other two Democrats in the race, Houston Mayor Bill White and hair care mogul Farouk Shami.

“I came away with a good feeling from my meeting with Bill,” Friedman said. “We’re an odd couple for sure. He’s a realist, and I’m a dreamer who never sleeps. But I think we both decided that he’s an insider, and I’m an outsider and neither of us want to switch places.”

Friedman said meetings with longtime friend and former Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower, as well as friend and country music star Willie Nelson, helped sway him toward the agricultural post, convincing him that he could tackle a number of his pet issues.

“Jim helped me realize there is a lot more to this job besides just farms,” he said. “You can either be a corporate stooge and just sit in the chair, or you can really expand the definitions and get a lot accomplished for the people of Texas.”

Among Friedman’s main goals for the agricultural commissioner’s post are creating farmers co-ops that would help supply alternative energy and create revenue and establish state-run animal rescue shelters in every county in Texas. Friedman owns the Utopia Animal Rescue Shelter in Medina.

Friedman stopped short of endorsing White for governor, but said he hopes to work together with him once elected, saying their meeting in Houston was “the start of a beautiful friendship.” He also had positive things to say about his friend Shami’s record of job creation as a businessman.

In the agricultural commissioner’s primary, Friedman will face another former gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Hank Gilbert.

Friedman is optimistic about his chances in the agricultural commissioner’s race, saying there is less money and voter scrutiny.

“Here (in the governor’s race), I have to take on these two millionaires in the primary, and all I’ve got is my trusty slingshot. Then, if I beat them, I’m left broke and penniless before I have to take on either Kay Bailey or Rick in the general,” he said.

Another reason for Friedman’s switch was the change in the line-up of Democratic candidates.

Friedman, who first ran for governor as an independent in 2006, felt that when he threw his hat into the ring this year, there were no other “real Texans” in the Democratic primary.

The only other candidate in the race at the time was Tom Schieffer, an ambassador under President George W. Bush.

But after Schieffer dropped-out of the primary and White, who had been running for senate, jumped into the governor’s race, Friedman reevaluated.

“End of the day, I can do just as much good for the people of Texas as ag commissioner, because the ag commissioner deals with rural Texas, and rural Texas is the real Texas,” he said.
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