Gary Black [AG-R]

Although we live in a time of political attacks, negative TV ads, and sound bites, I believe it is important to talk about the real issues that will face those of us running for office should the voters honor us with their confidence. In short, we owe you a plan of action as a part of our continuing job interview and I appreciate this opportunity from Peach Pundit to do just that.

In our modern world of high tech gadgets and ”new economy” jobs, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that agriculture remains Georgia’s largest industry. The total economic impact of Georgia’s farms and forests tops $65 billion annually and represents the single largest component of the local economy in two-thirds of our 159 counties.

Agriculture is the foundation on which Georgia was built but, for the good of the state, we must make it an industry of the future as well. For this reason, agriculture needs to be front and center in policymakers’ minds every day.

As Agriculture Commissioner, I am going to focus on three things to pursue this goal of strengthening and modernizing this critical sector of our economy.

Food Safety
Food safety is a core mission of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and it must be pursued with diligence and fiscal discipline.

It all starts with our Food safety inspectors who are the “boots on the ground” professionals whose seal of approval impacts public health and consumer confidence. We need to establish a positive, goal-oriented workplace accompanied by a system to measure results.

We need to establish a professional certification program for these inspectors. Educational and service incentives will help retain the best employees, a move that in the long run will improve performance and be more cost-effective.
We must enforce all food safety laws with science-based, common sense standards for all and prejudice towards none. I will ensure that Department inspectors have the equipment and support to perform their duties effectively.
We also need to put in place better, more modern plans to provide back up in emergency situations such as a food-borne illness outbreak, natural disaster or homeland security threat.

Strong Farms
The average farmer produces enough to serve his or her family and 155 other citizens here and abroad. That is impressive but becoming even more productive than that will enhance the strength of our agricultural sector and has the potential to create thousands of new jobs and increased revenue for Georgia.
The Agriculture Department can be a big help if it’s resources are leveraged properly. Just as farm families have adapted their business plans to meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must do the same at the Department
My plan to accomplish this includes:
Expanding online capabilities of the department to include real time market information, license purchase, renewal and reporting services.

Making investments in public research which will lead to new plant varieties for food, fiber, fuel and nutriceuticals that are essential to our quality of life and potential profit windfalls in U.S. and foreign markets.

Improving marketing to encourage farmers to capitalize on local market opportunities, thus improving the value of Georgia products. Our markets should be safe, one-stop shops for all things grown and produced in Georgia and provide citizens with a sustainable connection to Georgia’s true conservationists, our farmers

Responsible Government

It seems that Republicans have lost sight of one of our core principles: that government should be as small as possible and focus on providing a narrow set of deliverables to its customers – the taxpayers.

We need to initiate a thorough review of all laws impacting the operation of the department and then streamline and modernize them with the help of the Legislature. The budget should be published online so that taxpayers can monitor the monthly financial statements of the department.

Department employees inspect food sales establishments, warehouses, processing plants, fuel pumps, pest control applications and a wide range of other areas that touch every Georgian. User-friendly online resources and live customer service representatives will be made available to provide prompt, accurate answers to taxpayer questions.

Agriculture is the foundation on which Georgia was built and it will be a big part of the financial engine that drives us into what I believe will be a very bright future. As Agriculture Commissioner, I will make the department I lead a modern, efficient, fair and customer friendly organization that will help guide and support this critical industry toward that bright future.


  1. forthepeople says:

    Your Resume STINKS!!!!!!!!! We don’t need a life long lobbyist in such an important position in our Government.

  2. rightofcenter says:

    Way to read his post before speaking! It is absurd to declare someone unfit for office just because he is a “lifelong lobbyist.” There are plenty of dirtbag lobbyists, but to imply that merely by being a lobbyist you are unfit for office is stupid. I know many fine, outstanding people who happen to be honest, hardworking lobbyists who sincerely believe in the things they lobby for. Gary Black happens to be one of those lobbyists. No one is more knowledgable on the department of agriculture in this state and what needs to be done to straighten it out.

  3. Georgia Voter says:

    would this be the same lobbiest that will regulate the same people who “used” to pay him? His bio in the recent AJC article stated he was still the current president of that organization…

    If he worked for this lobbiest agency, and campaigned full-time, did they pay him to campaign? In the end yes, until he “resigned” so really the lobby firm supporting the candidate that will work for them… how connected to the actual people the allegedly represent are they.

    I am tired of politics, and this is a political candidate who is going to use the position just for politics… rather than doing the work of the people. Georgia has been far behind, lost in agricultural for far too long (check the origins next time you are in the supermarket). Besides talk and play politics, what has Gary Black done recently that that shows he is qualified for the job? The job is a lot more than playing politics….

  4. voter4 says:

    My question is this Mr Black: you worked for Monsanto, as a lobbyist. You tell me: are you a turncoat? How will you juggle in between small farmers and big multinational corporations???
    Tell me this: how have you lost not once, but twice for this position? You think voters are unliterits? or short minded?

    • The General says:

      “how have you lost not once, but twice for this position?”

      um…the last time I checked, the first and only time Gary ever ran for anything was in 06. And he beat the current SoS at that.

      • voter4 says:

        This is not just my opinion…. read this, what I just found.

        Stop Gary Black…the lobbyist!!!


        I grew up in SW GA, and have roots that run deep in agriculture. I am concerned what may happen if Gary Black is elected as the next GA Ag Commissioner. Everyone says Gary Black is the best qualified and most experienced cadidate. The only thing he is qualified to do is a be a lobbyist since that what his entire career has entailed. He is supported by the same companies the GA Ag Commissioner is charged with regulating (I.e. Monsanto). How closely do you think he would be watching over these large agribusiness companies that back him and finance his campaign. He is strictly for large Agribusiness and food processing type companies instead of the GA farmer. At a poitical meeting in Union County, he was wearing a tie with peanuts on it. When someone from the audience quipped about his tie, his comment was while pointing to his tie “these are the only safe peanuts in GA”. What a slap in the facce to the peanut farmers who help contribute to our economy. Agriculture is 16% of GA’s economy. While all portions of the state are important, the row crops (cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, etc) are the mainstays of the GA ag market are mainly produced in South GA. How can Gary Black be in touch with the farmers in South or even North GA while spending time in the state capital trying to push his lobbying organization’s agenda’s? Gary Black is politician plain and simple. He is a former Democrat who switched parties to run aginst Tommy Irvin…some say he is a very liberal democrat at heart, but I cant prove that. He knew he couldnt get the democratic vote against Irvin. He ended up losing anyway.
        In my opinion, Darwin Carter by far the superior candidate. He is a Reagan conservative who worked with Reagan and Bush Sr in the Department of Agriculture. He is Bacon County farmer that knows the challenges our farmers face today. He is largely unknown, because he doesnt have the deep pockets afforded by the backing of the large companies the office is supposed to be regulating.
        The statements above are simply based on my opinions formed from my own research. If you agree then please help get Darwin Carter’s name out and keep Gary Black out. If you dont agree then thanks for reading anyway.

        Dont take my word for it. Research it for yourselves.

        If you would like more info on Darwin Carter, you can go to You can also call me if you would like. I have been researching this for a couple of weeks since I heard both candidates speak at a local GOP rally.

  5. fed-up says:

    If you think Gary Black has the best resume for this job, then his must be the only one you have looked at. I am a salesman and a large portion of my sales are to the agriculture market. What kind of salesman would I be if came into your place of business and said, “Here is the product I am trying to sell. It is not a very good product and it is unsafe, but I would really appreciate it if you purchased it”? One of the jobs the Commissioner of Agriculture has is being a salesman for GA commodities. One of GA’s largest commodities is peanuts. GA produces almost half of the nation’s peanuts. At a meeting in Union County, Gary Black was wearing a tie with peanuts on it. When questioned by an attendee about the tie, Gary Black commented “these are the only safe peanuts in GA”. How can he sell one of our largest commidities if he thinks they are unsafe and comments to that fact? Ethics aside, he is not qualified to hold the position. When I went in for my job interview, do you think I would have been hired if I had said, “I would love to have this job. Oh and by the way, I think your products are junk and unsafe.
    As Georgia Voter said, “I am tired of politics”. Well so am I am but more than that, I am tired of GREY politics. I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know whether the ethics complaint has an legal ramifications. I do know however that it is a grey area at best. It is time for a candidate, not just in this election, that stands for black and white…not grey. Right or Wrong with NO in between. What do you think Gary Black will do or say when one of his large campaign contributors asks for a favor? Exactly!!! He will do whatever they ask.Gary Black may have the political resume, but it takes more than that.
    This comment is gone from his website, but at one time Gary Black had a comment that said something to the effect of ” agriculture helps to combat global warming”. Am I mistaken, or is global warming not a liberal myth? I don’t believe I am. So either Gary Black has liberal principles or he is pandering to the liberals to get their vote. If he does believe in global warming then he has a big problem. Isn’t the methane gas from cow flatulants supposed to be a leading contributor of global warming? So once again, either he is pandering for the liberal vote or he is a hypocrite. I am sure someone a lot more computer savy could find a trace of that comment somewhere in cyberspace. At any rate, some true conservative must have told him that we conservatives don’t believe in global warming and convinced him to take it down.
    Gary Black as of today on his website said that GA farmers use flow meters on their irrigation to “ensure efficiency”. Where has he been. I bet, since Darwin Carter is farmer, he knows what’s wrong with this statement. Ga farmers use flow meters on their irrigation systems because “Big Brother” wants to know how much water they are using. This area is my specialty, so trust me I know what I am talking about. Our state government decided they wanted to know how much water the farmers were using. It was so important to the that they put out a bid for flow meters and accepted the lowest bidder. They then needed someone to install them. This job also went to the lowest bidders. What was the result? Flow meters that are NOT accurate, shoddy installations that cost the farmers time and money. The guys hired by our officials would come out and install the things wrong or worse, they would cut out a 3-4″ slug of pipe to insert the meters. They would often times let the 3-4″ pipe slug drop into the pipeline and stop up the system or best sonctrict it so much that the farmer couldn’t irrigate without spending countless hours and dollars getting it out.
    Sorry to be so long winded, but I am tired of Gary Black’s name and “so called credentials” being pushed down our throats. While these arguments may seem small, they just go to prove that Gary Black little about what our great farmers in this great state have to put up with.
    By the way, I could go on and on. If anyone is interested, I will share all I have learned from My research…not what I have been fed by some candidate or some ad.

  6. Georgia Voter says:

    But once more…. no response by Gary or “garys supporters” on the ethics questions. if he cant answer questions in a campaign, issues important to voters, will he continue to ignore issues that are important to voters if elected?

    • voter4 says:

      Here is an other comment by Keith McCants (editor of Peanuts Politics who considers himself as a conservative Democrat) about the ethics violations by Gary Black.

      “Carter has spent the last six months filing letters of complaint to the Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Inspector General to no avail. Carter spoke with the Governor’s Attorney just to learn that ethics is not one of their top issues. Out of frustration Carter filed an official complaint with the State Ethics Commission.

      Gary Black has violated the State Ethics Laws and no one is listening. I have tried to work within the family to resolve this matter, but now I feel I must take it public to expose what could happen to the Citizens of Georgia

      A similar complaint was filed against Black by then Republican
      candidate Deanne Strickland in 2006 which was never resolved by the
      State Ethics Commission.

      David Skinner is the chairman of Black’s lobbying firm. Skinner is conflicted because he is a paid executive director of the Georgia Develpoment Authority.

      Says Carter: Gary Black is just a “Yes” man to the big agribusiness industries that want to run this regulatory office & in the words of Tommy Irvin back in 2006: electing Black would be like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

      Now Black is seen as the guy to become the next agriculture commissioner, but these complaints filed by GOP challenger Darwin Carter has some teeth to it. Ga Farmers, family farmers, independent farmers had better take notice of who Gary Black really is, because in the general election against Conservative Democratic State Senator & Farmer J.B. Powell (D-Blythe), he will be raked over the coals with charges if ethics violations & it’ll feed into the narrative the democrats will run in this years election which will involve Ethics.

      If you ask me, Carter is more qualified to become the next Agriculture Commissioner than republican favorite Gary Black & democratic nominee J.B. Powell.

      Look at the qualifications of Carter:

      Carter served in various positions in the administration of President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989.

      His positions included:
      -Georgia State Executive Director of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service
      -Confidential Assistant to the Administrator of ASCS
      -Assistant to the Undersecretary for International Affairs and Commodity
      -Programs Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

      Darwin managed some of the largest and most successful export projects in the world.

      The GOP better think long & hard before they cast a vote for Black. If he (Black) ends up as the nominee, he’ll lose in the general election against J.B. Powell. This will hang over his head all the way to November. When there’s smoke, there’s fire!

      Carter as the nominee, republicans will win that seat hands down, but it seems the entire State GOP has put all their eggs in the basket for this guy & if they send him on to the general election, HE WILL NOT WIN! MARK MY WORDS!!
      Posted by Keith McCants at 8:58 AM
      June 21, 2010″
      Research yourself.

  7. Lady Thinker says:

    “”Gary Black has violated the State Ethics Laws and no one is listening. I have tried to work within the family to resolve this matter, but now I feel I must take it public to expose what could happen to the Citizens of Georgia””

    What is the ethical violation you are trying to bring to the public’s attention?

    • Doug Deal says:

      Those are secret documents that only people of the third inner circle have access to. ‘

      I agree, time too lay the cards on the table, describe the act, say how it is a violation of the law and site sources for both. Otherwise tuck tail and take the whoopin’.

      • Lady Thinker says:

        Thanks! It is counter-productive to throw out innuendoes like that with no verifyable facts.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      Does someone have a binder on Mr. Gary Black? Is it the same binder that was used for Com. Oxendine? Isn’t it unethical to use the same binder twice without discolsing it as a used binder?

  8. fed-up says:

    Lady Thinker and Doug Deal
    Here is a copy of one of the letters:

    Honorable Sonny Perdue
    Governor of Georgia

    Dear Governor Perdue,

    Where does one turn to involving conflicts of interest here in Georgia?
    I ask that question of you out of frustration. Let me explain. I am
    a current candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture in the Republican
    Primary race. In the course of my campaign I learned a great deal
    about my opponent, Gary Black.

    I found out that he is a full time candidate for state office, at the
    same time he is working full time as President of the Georgia
    Agribusiness Council (GAC), a U. S. Tax exempt, 501c6 corporation.
    My reading of regulations concerning these tax exempt groups suggests
    that they are strictly forbidden from involvement in partisan politics.
    Violation of IRS rules can cause loss of the tax exempt status.

    As President of GAC besides his six figure salary, his meals are paid
    for while on the road. His gasoline and car expenses are paid. His
    lodging is covered. In short, everything he encounters is paid or
    reimbursed by GAC, all of this while he maintains his 24 hour schedule
    of non-stop partisan campaigning.

    I think that this is wrong. I believe that he is conflicted. Acting
    on my belief I wrote to the Georgia Inspector General, asking that
    they review my findings. At the same time, I also wrote the office
    Of Secretary of State, knowing that their office handles matters of
    Corporations here in Georgia (see attached). In both cases, I have
    now heard back that they have no jurisdiction in such matters.

    That is the reason for this message to you. Where does one go to
    properly raise these questions? By the way, in writing to you, I
    was given 60 choices of subject matter by your efficient email
    server, no where did I see Conflict of Interest as a possible
    selection to define the purpose in my correspondence. Knowing that
    I had to select a category I chose agriculture. However, that was
    an arbitrary choice since this is really a request for review that
    centers around blatant conflict of interest.

    In summary, who in our state has jurisdiction if in fact Gary Black
    is conflicted, as I suspect? Do you see any problem here with his
    wearing of two hats, being paid by his lobbying group to seek the
    office that handles the matters most impacting on his corporation?
    Do you see any problem that he does all of this using a tax exempt
    corporation while he campaigns?

    Governor, I sincerely seek your advice and thoughts on this matter.


    Darwin Carter

    PS. Since writing you the above message, I made a joint public
    appearance with Gary Black at the 6th District GOP Campaign Forum,
    Dunwoody. As I ended my remarks to the crowd, I turned to Gary Black
    and asked him in front of everyone how he could possibly justify his
    high profile conflict of interest. He didn’t like the question. He
    suggested that I was delivering to him a “sucker-punch”. However, he
    went on to say that he had “resigned two days ago”, from his GAC

    I’ve looked at his ongoing Twiiter board and see no mention of his
    resignation. I’ve heard nothing about the resignation in the press.
    His Georgia Agribusiness Council (GAC) web site still lists him as
    President. If he has resigned it has been in a rather incognito

    More inportant, if he has resigned from GAC it elevates the question
    of propiety. Why did he think he could get away with his conflict
    in the first place? Why did the Board of Directos of GAC permit
    and, indeed, encourage the conflict? I urge that someone of
    authority demand a full audit of the financial records of the
    organization. After all, Black’s group is a tax exempt 501c6.
    If he has resigned it is because he is feeling some heat. I’ve
    come to believe that where there is heat there is often fire.

  9. You know, I still haven’t done much research on Gary, but I got an e-mail just a few minutes ago saying Gary doesn’t support betting on horse racing becoming legalized in Georgia. Perhaps he doesn’t care about how much money and employment could be generated by this addition to the equine industry in our state. As someone who has a stake in the horse business staying strong in Georgia, I’d love to see this legalized.

    I doubt most people in our state have any idea how many people in just the Atlanta metro area bring OTTBs (Off the Track ThoroughBreds) in from New York, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, etc. and retrain them for other uses – Hunters / Jumpers, Equitation, Dressage, Eventing, etc.

  10. voter4 says:

    Gary Black is a lobbyist and now wants to regulate those that he has worked for 20 + yrs! Over & over again- I am telling you, the voting public, Gary Black is a lobbyist. I have told you and I am telling you again Gary Black is a lobbyist and I hope I do not have to tell you I told you so. As the Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black cannot regulate the companies and individuals who have paid his salary for the last 20+ years

    Gary Black will be working for the few who have kept him comfortable for 20 + years and not the entire state of Georgia.

    Gary Black is a lobbyist.

  11. horseshoe says:

    You right,

    Black opposes horseracing for Georgia. And as such he opposes the expertly predicted 20,000 jobs it would bring to Georgia. Many of these jobs are jobs on the farms that would breed, break, train and raise the racing stock for the track. These are jobs that would serve the auctions that buy and sell breeding and racing stock. These are the jobs that farmers would grow the hay and grains that feed the some 130,000 race horses that race annually in states like Florida; these are the jobs that tack and hardware stores have to supply the racing and breeding industry; these are the jobs that construction workers perform in building the training farms in South and North Georgia that serve the race track wherever it will be located.

    Black opposes all of these jobs and more that could directly benefit Georgia’s farmers and Agriculture community.

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