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2010: Newspaper Endorsements: DMN for Kinky

"It's hard to see him in any statewide office, really, but his talent for folksy one-liners could at least be useful in the important role of promoting Texas farm and ranch products"

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In the contested Democratic primary for Agriculture Commissioner, the Dallas Morning News has endorsed Kinky Friedman over Hank Gilbert. Well, maybe we should say: The News has opposed Gilbert over Friedman, since the editorial is more of a knock on the former than an attaboy to the latter.

Gilbert knows agriculture issues in vastly greater depth than Friedman, but he would lead Texas in the wrong direction in key areas. One is a move away from globalization and toward protectionism for farm products. He says he is not a big fan of crop subsidies, yet he thinks Congress caved to foreign nations that complained Washington was propping up U.S. producers too much.

Gilbert, 50, of Whitehouse, also opposes key parts of the state water plan. He would take the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir off the table as a possible water source for the burgeoning Dallas-Fort Worth area. He would bank on a less-certain strategy of shipping in water from other regions and building massive desalinization plants to purify brackish water.

Friedman, 65, of Austin, doesn't get into such details. He says he'd hire experts to hash out policy so he could concentrate on being a spokesman for family farms and kindness to animals. That's not a great model for the job, but a better one than Gilbert proposes.

The winner of the primary faces incumbent Todd Staples in November.

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