Dorman Grace stumps in Pike County

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, July 8, 2010

With the Republican Primary runoff only days away, Dorman Grace is taking his campaign for Commission of Agriculture and Industries to the people.

Taking a cue from yesteryear’s politicians who “stumped” across the country shaking hands, kissing babies and looking folks right in the eyes in an effort to win their votes, Grace is traveling the state speaking to crowds from the back of a pickup truck.

The “Farmers Pickup Support for Grace” caravan was in Troy on Thursday and Grace took the opportunity to have lunch with area farmers and then spoke to locals from the bed of a caravan pickup truck carrying peaches from Chilton County.

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For Grace, being in Pike County was almost like being home. He is married to the former Susan Davis, the daughter of Bruel Davis and Geraldine Davis of Brundidge.

“I’ve spent a lot of time here in Pike County,” he said.

“I know a lot of really fine people so coming here is like coming home.”

Grace, a third generation poultry farmer from Walker County, said he is not a career politician rather an “ol’ farm boy.”

He compared the “Farmers Pickup” caravan that is making stump stops from Huntsville to Dothan to picking cotton.

“We’re going up one row and down another hoping to pick up votes,” Grace said with a smile and then explained why he wants the job. “I want to make sure that agriculture stays viable in the state of Alabama because it’s our number one industry. As Commissioner of Agriculture, my priorities will be creating jobs, cutting spending and maintaining a safe food supply.”

Grace said the job of the Commission of Agriculture and Industries is a far reaching one and affects every person in the state, “from the food we eat to the gas we pump.”

“The job is one of great responsibility,” he said.

“We must make sure that our food is grown safely and is kept safe from the time it leaves the farm until it reaches our tables.”

As a farmer of cattle, poultry and timber, Grace said he understands what it takes to run a farm and he also knows the challenges that face the state in keeping families on the farm.

“The average age of a farmer today is 58,” he said. “We have got to find ways to keep young people on the farm because farming feeds Alabama.”

Grace hopes to be the first farmer to serve the state as Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries since Albert McDonald 30 years ago.

“I think it’s important for us to have a commissioner who understands what it’s like to be a farmer in Alabama today,” said John Dorrill, a member of the Alabama Agriculture of Fame. “Dorman was appointed by Gov. Riley to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Board in 2003 so he knows the role the department plays in food safety.

“He will be a fresh face in agriculture leadership and will be able to relate to the new crowd that is wanting change. He will bring new ideas and new energy to the Commission and initiate progressive programs that will benefit all of us.”

Goshen farmer Bill Sanders said he has known Grace for a long time and he has the ability to do a good, fair and honest job as agriculture commissioner.

“Dorman will listen to the issues and act on them,” Sanders said. “He’s the man we need as Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.”