Rothenburger announces bid for commissioner of agriculture
FRANKFORT – Saying he wants to do more to represent and promote Kentucky’s farms, families and bring more agriculture-related jobs to the state, Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger on Monday formally filed his papers to run for Commissioner of Agriculture.
“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is a diversified organization which requires a commissioner that provides a broad background,” Rothenburger said. “As a farmer and as a county judge-executive, I believe I am the candidate that offers the versatile skills that would benefit Kentucky farmers and families.”
Rothenburger, a Republican, is currently Shelby County Judge-Executive, a position he has held for 8 years. He is also a paramedic and former fire chief of the city of Shelbyville. He lives on a 94-acre family farm near Bagdad, in eastern Shelby County.
Rothenburger said his plan to promote Kentucky farms and farm products include:
• Continuing to expand the Kentucky Proud Program in all areas of Kentucky
• Taking the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to the people through once-a-month regional meetings
• Educating the public about Kentucky farm products
• Promoting healthily lifestyles through Kentucky-grown products
Noting that Kentucky has lost agricultural employers over the years, including International Harvester in Louisville, Rothenburger said, when elected, he would also work with the Governor’s office, Department of Local Government (DLG) and the Cabinet of Economic Development to retain and expand agriculture-related jobs throughout the state.
“We have an excellent opportunity with our rich agricultural heritage and geographic position to recruit and expand agriculture-related businesses that would benefit Kentucky’s farms and families. My experience in working with government officials and private organizations to bring jobs into the county lends itself very well to job creation throughout the Commonwealth.”
Rothenburger said he would also work to fight unnecessary federal regulations that are expensive and intrusive to the state’s agriculture producers.
Rothenburger is running for the commissioner’s job currently held by Richie Farmer. Farmer is barred by law from seeking a third term in the office.
Rothenburger’s filing papers to run for the Ag Commissioner’s post were also signed by Shelby County farmer and 2009 Kentucky Farmer of the Year Doug Langley, who raises tobacco, grain and feeder cattle, and Pat Hargadon, a beef cattle farmer and agency manager for Shelby County Farm Bureau.
“Rob has worked in agriculture all his life, and I know it’s where his true roots are,” Langley said. “I also know he’s made a lot of positive changes for the county as judge-executive, and will do the same for Kentucky agriculture.”
Rothenburger grew up on a dairy and tobacco farm and operates a beef cattle and hay farm with his family.
In addition to his background in agriculture, Rothenburger touted his executive experience, which includes handling a $17 million to $19 million county budget and directing more than 200 full- and part-time employees. As Shelby County Judge-Executive, Rothenburger balanced the county’s budget every year, reduced county property taxes three times and opened government by establishing a website and eliminating the need for taxpayers to file an open records request to scrutinize the county’s budget.
Photo: Rob Rothenburger, farmer and Shelby Co. Judge-Executive, officially filed Monday to run for Commissioner of Agriculture in 2011. Also signing his filing papers were 2009 Kentucky Farmer of the Year Doug Langley (seated) and Pat Hargadon (not shown), beef cattle farmer and agency manager for Shelby Co. Farm Bureau.