Release: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Democratic Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture Chris Irvin Holds Republican Incumbent Accountable for Record at Debate
Atlanta, GA – Sunday, Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Chris Irvin, held Republican incumbent Gary Black accountable for his record of mismanagement at the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
When Chris Irvin questioned Republican Gary Black about using the taxpayer-funded Georgia Grown program for campaign purposes, Black ducked the question and pivoted to attack President Obama.
Irvin responded “I know there is a lot of refuge in attacking the President. I think this is a refuge for scoundrels…you’re not running against the President. You’re running against me.”
Gary Black was also questioned by a debate moderator about a 2013 report from the Department of Agriculture that said “around 30 to 40 Agriculture Department employees partied on Sept. 17 at a cabin during a government-funded training session.” The AP reported that “at some point, seven men and one woman went skinny dipping.”
After Black was asked by a moderator “What does that say about your office—what does that say about you as a manager, as not being able to rein in these types of activities at your department,” Black responded that two department officials were “gone” within 48 hours.
Chris Irvin took issues with Black’s response, saying “It didn’t take 48 hours according to the 57-page report right here—Mr. Black needs to read it. It took nearly six months. It was your senior officer—under his guidance and in his own cabin—that was engaged in what is described in this document as a ‘fraternity-like atmosphere.’”
“My mission is to protect, preserve, and grow Georgia’s agriculture,” Irvin said in his closing remarks. “I feel that our farmers have been left out to pasture—and personally, I want to bring them home. We cannot forget those who have raised the barns, tended the herds, and plowed the fields that have made Georgia’s agriculture the powerhouse it has become today.”
Online Athens (10-13-14) – Ag commissioner defends wild-party firing during Sunday debate
Talking Points Memo (4-2-13) – Georgia Officials Resign After Drunken, Naked Swim Party
AJC (4-11-13) – Ag officials resign over drunken ‘fraternity party’