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Agriculture Commissioner's Race Centers on Local Food

Rickey Cole (right), the Democratic challenger for Mississippi agriculture commissioner, is pitching a local food revolution, while Republican incumbent Andy Gipson (left) seeks more incremental change. Photos courtesy MDAC/Ashton Pittman

Rickey Cole (right), the Democratic challenger for Mississippi agriculture commissioner, is pitching a local food revolution, while Republican incumbent Andy Gipson (left) seeks more incremental change. Photos courtesy MDAC/Ashton Pittman

The Democratic challenger for Mississippi agriculture commissioner is pitching a local food revolution, while the Republican incumbent seeks more incremental change.

That's one big divide between Democrat Rickey Cole and Republican Andy Gipson.

It's not that Gipson opposes local food, touting an online effort to connect producers and consumers. Cole, though, wants to exempt local food from the 7% state sales tax and use department employees use to market local food to stores.

Gipson, a lawyer then serving his third term in the state House of Representatives, was appointed to the statewide post last year by Gov. Phil Bryant. He succeeded Cindy Hyde-Smith, who became a U.S. Senator.

Cole ran unsuccessfully for agriculture commissioner in 2007 and is the former chairman of the state Democratic Party.


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