Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is the only Republican serving as a constitutional officer in state government, and is frequently mentioned as a future gubernatorial candidate.
Comer was elected to office with the highest number of votes among any candidate running in last year’s statewide election and he arrived at the agriculture department promising a new, bipartisan direction.
The former state representative immediately partnered with State Auditor Adam Edelen to address a growing scandal left by his predecessor—former University of Kentucky basketball star Richie Farmer—who is now reportedly being investigated by the FBI.
Since then, Comer has been trying to bring transparency and efficiency to the department while bridging the gap between Kentucky’s rural and urban communities. He has also partnered with U.S. Sen Rand Paul, R-Ky., to legalize industrial hemp in the commonwealth, which both believe could be a new revenue stream.
I talked to Comer about Farmer’s tarnished legacy, his own political future and how this summer’s drought impacted the commonwealth.