State Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples dropped by Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Decatur Monday to kick off his campaign for lieutenant governor.
Staples announced his intention to run for the office July 11.
“As we get closer to the election cycle, people are starting to pay attention, and I hope they do,” Staples said. “This is going to be a competitive race, and I welcome that because competition is what it’s all about.”
As he spoke about issues surrounding the state of Texas, Staples mentioned his position on border control.
“I think Washington is struggling today on a lot of fronts,” he said. “They are struggling to find the right solution to secure our borders, reform our field immigration laws, and I think that can be done without offering amnesty today.”
If he were elected lieutenant governor, Staples said he would continue to stand firm in protecting landowners.
“One of the things I worked on previously as the ag commissioner is protecting the rights of private property owners,” he said. “That’s what I want to do as lieutenant governor; I want to make certain that we’re planning for job creation from our private sector, and I want to make certain that we’re meeting our fundamental needs.
This can all be done by reflecting the conservative values and the way we do business here in Texas, but it all starts here in places like Wise County.”
When asked about Comptroller Susan Combs’s decision to retire in 2015 and Gov. Rick Perry’s future plans, Staples remained positive.
“I think what this reflects is that we’re in a time of transition,” he said. “It’s time for new leaders to step forward and a new generation to get in there and fight the fight to preserve the history and heritage of the Lone Star State.”
Staples discussed the U.S. House of Representatives’ decision to split Farm Bill legislation into two titles.
“About 80 percent of the original Farm Bill was really on nutrition programs and not on production agriculture and ensuring we had a domestic food supply,” he said. “So the House of Representatives finally split those two titles out, and that’s what passed as the actual Farm Bill title today. I’m anxious to see what the Senate will do with that.”
With the legislation still pending in the Senate, Staples hopes it will move forward.
“Taxpayers are looking for transparency,” he said. “When all the issues get intertwined up there – there are good things, but there can be a lot of bad things, too. You get $17 trillion national debt and continuous deficit, so having transparency where you can see exactly what you’re voting for is a good way to move forward.”
Feeling that Washington pushed the Farm Bill back too far, Staples agreed that production agriculture needs stability.
“Production agriculture fights international trade disputes, the drought, pests and diseases, and they fight adverse environmental policies in Washington,” Staples said. “Producers need certainties so that they can plant and continue to provide the basic food and fiber.
“There’s been reductions on the spending of those farm programs – which it should be. We need to continuously look for ways in Washington to reduce costs and at the same time not disrupt markets and to provide that certainty that’s needed.”
A question arose regarding the possibility of alleviating the drain of Lake Bridgeport. As of May, the lake was 17 feet low.
“Last week our statewide resevoir capacity was at 64 percent – and we’re not even to the hot, dry parts of the summer yet,” Staples said. “With our rapidly growing state population, we have to have growing capacity, we have to have water conservation, we have to embrace desalination.
“We’re going to need some more resevoirs. There’s no single bullet solution, but we’re going to have to develop new resevoir capacity to give places like Bridgeport a little relief – and that can be done.”
In closing, Staples left with this statement regarding the Obama administration:
“I have actually fought job-killing EPA decisions,” he said. “I have fought this administration asking for more resources for the border. We know we’re part of this great nation, and I want to use Texas to lead and help solve some of these problems. And I think we can do that. I will be fighting these policies every step of the way.”