Commissioner of Agriculture

The Commissioner of Agriculture helps North Carolina farms stay in business and innovate. The Commissioner of Agriculture also protects North Carolinians by performing food and drug testing.

English:

Spanish:

There are 4 primary candidates for the office of Commissioner of Agriculture. There is 1 Republican candidate, and 3 Democratic candidates.  The candidates are as follows:

Steve Troxler (R)
Walter Smith (D)
Jenna Wadsworth (D)
Donovan Alexander Watson(D)
 
Two candidates, Steve Troxler (R) and Walter Smith (D), did not respond to our survey, so you will not see them mentioned below.

All answers are provided in text and audio files for each candidate. To navigate through the questions you may either scroll through this page to read or listen to their answers, or use the links below to jump directly to specific questions.

The primary candidates for the office of Commissioner of Agriculture were each asked the following questions:

The complete audio of all responses for the Commissioner of Agriculture’s race:

English:

Spanish:

Question 1: What are your top three priorities?

Jenna Wadsworth (D)

My top 3 priorities include: expanding new and diverse crop markets for additional revenue streams in order to support our family farmers (including through the legalization of cannabis, expanding hemp, and plant- based products), tackling climate change head-on and building resiliency into farm plans, as well as bridging the growing urban-rural divide (in part through bettering rural healthcare options and expanding rural broadband access).

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Donovan Alexander Watson (D)

I am running for NC Commissioner of Agriculture because we need a leader that will fight for the people and who will prepare us for the future. My top three priorities are to help small, multi-generational farms sustain themselves, expand youth agricultural engagement programs, and identify and develop markets for NC agricultural products to secure the future of our state’s agriculture.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 2: What can be done to make gas stations

more accessible?

Jenna Wadsworth (D)

The Commissioner’s office is responsible for fuel safety and quality. Accessibility of gas stations is controlled by other governing bodies. However, I am happy to listen to your concerns and see how we can work together to advocate for any changes that would make gas stations more accessible.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Donovan Alexander Watson (D)

North Carolina can help improve gas station accessibility by collecting better data on the location of handicapped accessible gas services and advocating for the installation of more handicap accessible gas pumps. To develop public map services for accessible gas stations, the Department of Agriculture’s gas pump inspectors can gather data on gas pump assistance and accessible gas pumps. Improved gas station services are important investments for a fair and equal transit system.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 3: What can be done to make the state fair

more accessible?

Jenna Wadsworth (D)

I believe it is important to ask people with firsthand experience what challenges they are facing with accessibility at the Fair, and I am eager to figure out how we can collaboratively address those concerns and create an atmosphere that is both enjoyable and accessible for all. Groups such as Disability Rights NC would be welcomed in my office, where I would bring in the State Fair Manager and other relevant staff members How will you improve access to the internet in rural and low-income communities?

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Donovan Alexander Watson (D)

Improving parking and navigation routes would make the state fair more accessible. State fair employees should be diligent and responsive in the areas where people with disabilities can park and enter the fair. Accessibility routes should be a consideration in the layout of the activities so that all of the routes are well-connected to the ow and central programs of the fair.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 4: How will you improve access to the internet

in rural and low-income communities?

Jenna Wadsworth (D)

My platform includes bridging the widening urban-rural divide in our state. As someone who grew up on a farm in Johnston County but who has been elected in Wake County, I feel that I’ve lived in both worlds. For rural folks to succeed, they need quality healthcare, as well as access to broadband internet. Farmers need access to technology in order to keep their farms afloat. As Commissioner, I will advocate for high speed broadband access and work with Legislators to ensure this is prioritized.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Donovan Alexander Watson (D)

As a member of the Council of State, the Commissioner of Agriculture is in a position to garner support from powerful offices on important policy issues like this one. North Carolina needs to sit down with internet providers and tell them that internet access for all our citizens is a high priority, and then negotiate the ways that we can make it easier for high-quality internet to be installed and operated in rural and low-income communities.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Copyright © 2019 Access the Vote NC - DRNC