by Bill Mardis
The speaker at the November membership meeting of Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce was introduced by the minority floor leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives as “ ... in my opinion, the next governor of Kentucky.”
“Jamie (James R) Comer is uniquely qualified to serve as governor, said Jeff Hoover, state representative from the 83rd House District, a part of which is in Pulaski County.
Comer, commissioner, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, is a rising star in the Republican Party. He succeeded Richie Farmer and has revived a disarrayed agriculture department.
“His (Comer’s) record for the past two years speaks for itself,” said Hoover. Comer’s was the only department in state government to submit a budget a half million dollars lower than the department’s previous budget.
“You can do it if you try,” Comer responded. He said he has ridded the department of a lot of “phantom” employees who did little work. “We’ve had a huge turnover,” he noted.
Comer during his chamber presentation didn’t mention a possibly candidacy for governor in 2015. However, he walks like a candidate and talks like a candidate.
He praised Udderly Kentucky and its milk entirely from Kentucky dairy farms and processed in Somerset. A 7-cent-per-gallon premium is returned directly to every participating Kentucky dairy farmer.
Production at Prairie Farms (formerly Southern Belle Dairy) has grown from under 150 gallons per day to a current volume of about 80,000 gallons per day, or 21 million gallons annually. The milk is sold in Wal-Mart stores.
“I believe, I’ve always believed, we have superior products in Kentucky,” said Comer. “I believe people will pay a premium for superior projects.” He said more than $2 million have been returned to 105 dairy farm families in Kentucky from the milk premiums.
Comer called himself a friend of coal. He insisted that we not look at Eastern Kentucky as it is today but Eastern Kentucky as it can be tomorrow. “I believe the future of Eastern Kentucky and the future of Pulaski County are bright,” he said.