Republican state Sen. Tyler Harper announced Tuesday that he is running for Georgia agriculture commissioner.

The Ocilla resident will be seeking the Republican nomination for an open position. Gary Black, who has held the post since 2011, is stepping down to run for the U.S. Senate.

Harper is in his fifth term representing Senate District 7, which covers all or parts of 10 south Georgia counties.

“I’m running for agriculture commissioner to fight for our values, farm values,” Harper said in an announcement video. I’ll fight to keep liberal Washington D.C., policies out of Georgia. I’ll stand up to foreign competitors, stand up to those who want to change our way of life. And I’ll protect Georgia values.”

Harper is currently the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee and has sponsored legislation to broaden gun rights while in the Senate.

Nakita Hemingway, a Democrat who lost a 2020 race for state House in Gwinnett County to Republican Chuck Efstration, announced earlier this month she was also running for the position.

State law requires that the commissioner be a “practical farmer.”

The agriculture commissioner’s office helps regulate food safety and promote business in Georgia’s largest industry. Harper also pledged to “deliver funding to our farmers in record time.” Some farmers have been unhappy that it took more than 18 months to deliver federal relief to Georgia farmers after 2018′s Hurricane Michael. Harper also said he would oppose efforts to regulate smaller bodies of water, a move some farmers say could harm them

 

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2012 file photo, freshman Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla, smiles as he introduces his first bill, Senate Bill 91, during Legislative Day 17 in the Senate Chambers in Atlanta. Harper announced Tuesday, June 29, 2021 that he is running for the Republican nomination for state agriculture commissioner. ( Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

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