The Ag Commissioner’s Race Is Important, Even In Broward


The Florida Commissioner of Agriculture sounds like something we shouldn’t care much about in urban Broward.



The full name of the job is Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Republican Charles Bronson has done an underwhelming job in the field of consumer services. The next commissioner could do better without much effort.

The agency’s authority is wide reaching everything from telemarketing to charities to food inspection.  

A new commissioner could emphasize the powers that they have now.  For instance, a new ag commissioner could use the Internet to put pressure on the bad apples in the fields they regulate. A new activist commissioner could lobby the Legislature for even more power.

That’s just one reason the job is important.  The other reason is that the Ag Commissioner has a vote on the Florida Cabinet, which decides many important issues. 

Oil drilling off the coast?  The Cabinet could have a lot to say about that.

Democratic front runner Scott Maddox already has a lot about oil drilling.  He opposes it and his comments have gotten him a lot of media attention.

Another candidate has joined him Randy Hatch.

Hatch, a farmer from little Bradford in North Florida, isn’t getting much attention.  But he has gotten the support of  County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin’s husband, Richard Rubin.

Rubin gave $350 to Hatch’s campaign.  A company Rubin runs with former Southwest Ranches town manager John Canada give Hatch tickets worth $300 to a Hispanic Unity event in Broward. 

Since Hatch only has raised $7,300 including in-kind contributions, Rubin is responsible for big hunk.

The connection is Rubin’s wife, Wasserman Rubin.  Hatch was a Swannee County commissioner and president of the Florida Association of Counties, when he met Wasserman Rubin.

Maddox has $170,394 and that puts him way out in front.

Maddox ran for state attorney general in 2002 and lost to Buddy Dyer, who in turn lost to Charlie Crist.   He was the mayor of Tallahassee for a decade and chair of the state Democratic Party.

It was as Democratic Party chair that Maddox ran into trouble over accounting mistakes.  An investigation found the mistakes were not his fault, however he was the boss. 

Maddox made a brief run for governor in 2005.

If the winner of the Democratic primary really wants to have a chance in the general election, he should emphasize the consumer services aspect of the job. I’ll bet any Republican winning won’t because, let’s face it, these guys are really not on the side of consumers.

The Democrats have an opportunity.  The Republicans are divided, with  U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow and state Sen. Carey Baker of Eustis clashing over who is the most conservative. 

Both men have a history of being conservative partisans who are on the right side of the Republican Party. That means they don’t believe government should take an activist role in helping consumers.

Consequently, their records are not an embrace of consumer rights by any means, although they will spin it that way.

Under Republican Bronson, the consumer aspect of the job languished.   A new ag commissioner could be a real voice for Florida consumers, but don’t count on it if the Republicans win.

5 Responses to “The Ag Commissioner’s Race Is Important, Even In Broward”

  1. The Truth 4U says:

    Charles Bronson won office because he had the same name as the late movie actor and that won’t be a problem this time around for Democrats

  2. Phillip Tetsori says:

    Maddox is a career politician who has been looking for a way out of Tallahassee since he no longer had the mayor’s job. It is time we put a non-politician on the Cabinet in at least one job.

  3. No Reason Why says:

    There is no reason why we need an elected Agriculture Commissioner. It should be a Secretary of Agriculture selected by the Governor, no different than any other agency head. We need to grow up in Florida and align our system of government with that of other major states.

  4. Thom G says:

    If the agriculture commission was appointed by the governor, it would be one more office appointed by the conservative Republicans. I am a believer in returning to the elected Cabinet of the past. I don’t believe education improved by having an appointed education commissioner and I don’t believe the electric rates or service improved by having an appointed puiblic service commission


    The point made has nothing to do with the party affiliation of an appointing governor, rather it questions why any given position should be elected versus appointed. Any argument that some department heads should be elected versus appointed needs to be clearly justified.

    And education has improved. Kids in Florida today are learning much better than they did 10 years ago. In fact, I would say that kids in this state have never gotten a better education than they are getting are right now. There isn’t much about the Republican platform that I like. But you have to give credit where it is due. Under the Republicans, education statewide has taken a sharp turn for the better and our kids are better off for that effort. Democrats, beholden to labor unions, said it was not possible. It was and is possible.