PHOTO: Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan addressed the DeKalb County Republican Breakfast Club this morning. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Video at the Bottom) This morning, (May 13, 2017) Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan addressed the DeKalb County Republican Breakfast Club which met at Western Sizzlin' in Fort Payne. Event organizer Jack Stiefel introduced Commissioner McMillan. Stiefel acknowledged McMillan's long resume of political experience in Alabama, such as serving as a county commissioner in Baldwin County and his many leadership positions in the agriculture industry.
"It occurs to me when I look at all those things, somebody with that experience and qualifications, would probably make a good governor," said Stiefel of McMillan.
Towards the beginning of his remarks, McMillan quoted John Wayne to sum up the recent scandal and resignation of Governor Robert Bentley: "Life is really tough, and it's a lot tougher if you're stupid," said McMillan, which drew laughter from the crowd. "That pretty much sums up where we are."
McMillan also pointed out how important Agriculture and Industries are to DeKalb County:
"I can't come here without talking a little bit about Agriculture and industries, and the information is dated, I think it was put together at least in 2013, but since this was put together, DeKalb is the best agri-business county in the state. It's of course primarily attributable to the growth of the poultry industry," said McMillan.
"In DeKalb County, The total economic impact of agriculture and forestry is $1.3 Billion, and approaching 11,000 jobs, so it's significant to this part of the state, and DeKalb County," McMillan continued, "The backbone of Alabama's economy is agriculture and forestry. To the tune of about $70 billion plus a year, and 285,000 jobs."
McMillan then discussed the governor's race, in which he is planning on pursuing the Republican nomination in 2018.
"It looks like we're going to have a good wide choice of candidates for governor, we've got some Democrats running as Republicans already, we've got Democrats running as Democrats already, and we've got some Republicans who plans to run, and I'm one of those Republicans planning to run." said McMillan.
Despite Alabama's current governor being a potential opponent, McMillan urged support for Kay Ivey as the state government tries to right the ship in the wake of the recent Bentley resignation:
"We all need to support Governor Ivey right now. She needs all the support she can get from all those involved to try and stabilize things and get things turned around in Montgomery," added McMillan.
McMillan also highlighted a possible solution to a lot of the problems the state is facing today: more citizen involvement.
"I believe we're in a situation now where the failed leadership that we've seen in the past and the issues that we are dealing with, and I mentioned just a few of them, but the point I want to make is I think we're in a situation where elected officials can not adequately address what needs to be done in this state alone as elected officials. I don't care whether it's the governor or whoever it is," explained McMillan.
"So my proposal would be to get citizens around the state that are extremely capable in different areas, whether it's medicaid or whatever, to come in and work with members of the legislatures and industries that are participating; a cross section of local officials, law enforcement, a diverse group of Alabamians," continued McMillan. "A small group of people that are very capable to come in and evaluate the state agencies and identify on a priority basis things we need to do."
"My theory is that they're plenty of people in the state that for whatever reason will never run for public office, but have tremendous management skills, and knowledge of state and local government, that can be an asset to us if we take this type of approach," concluded McMillan. (Watch the Video Below for the rest of McMillan's remarks)
In local political news, Lester Black announced his candidacy for County Commission District IV. The seat is currently occupied by long-time Commissioner DeWitt Jackson of Rainsville. The announcement came after McMillans remarks:
"I just wanted to announce I'll be a candidate for District IV Commissioner," stated Black.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Lloyd of Rainsville, also announced potential plans to run for higher office:
"I have not comply finalized my decision yet, but it's highly likely I will be running for Judge Cole's seat in Circuit Court," said Lloyd.
Judge Shaunathan Bell also related his plans to seek reelection for Circuit Judge:
"It's not time to qualify yet, it's next month, but I plan on running for reelection," pointed out Judge Shaunathan Bell.
Watch the Full Video: