Dark Horse on a Tractor: Randy Hatch Runs for Agriculture Commissioner
It’s not every day that you see a tractor bedecked in American flags driving down Monroe Street in Tallahassee. But then it’s not every day you meet Randy Hatch, the former commissioner of Suwannee County who is now running to be state agriculture and consumer services commissioner.
In front of the old statehouse, Hatch met with the press to talk about his campaign. Pointing to a crack in the sidewalk, he pointed out that he got his start in politics there when he parked his tractor in front of the capital during the farm strike in 1977.
In his bid for the Democratic nomination, Hatch plans to drive his tractor all through the state in the “Florida at 20 MPH” tour.
When asked what separates him from better known rivals like U.S. Rep Adam Putnam and former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox, Hatch said, “I’m the only candidate in the race who can farm.”
Hatch has more than just farming in his resume. A former president of the Florida Counties Association and former chair of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Hatch is the author of the Florida Right to Farm Act and is an expert on agricultural issues.
Speaking about farm issues, Hatch said the state needs to do more to develop agricultural business. He also said that too many marketing advantages were being given away to farmers outside Florida.
Hatch also spoke of other issues he would raise in the campaign including energy independence and food safety.
While Hatch said fundraising was going slow, he hoped that his increased visibility and efforts would change that.
With his colorful and engaging personality, if Hatch is able to get some attention, he could turn into one of the dark horses to keep an eye out for in 2010. As he heads out on his tractor to Pensacola, then over to Jacksonville and, eventually, all the way down to Key West, Hatch is optimistic about his campaign.
“We have traction now that we have a tractor,” he said.