(WAFB) - Incumbent Michael G. Strain was elected to another term as Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Saturday, Oct. 12.
Strain, the Republican incumbent since 2008, faced four Democratic challengers hoping to flip the office back to blue. Strain’s predecessor, Democrat Bob Odum, dropped out of their 2007 runoff and announced his retirement after serving for 28 years.
Each of Strain’s competitors sought to mark key differences with Strain on newer issues that have taken the spotlight in the past few years as a tactic of putting Strain on equal footing with them.
Climate changes in the state and the evolving needs of producers, recruiting younger people to choose agricultural careers, marijuana legalization, medical marijuana regulations, and budgetary concerns were all points Strain’s competitors hit on.
Medical marijuana was a particularly tough point for Strain who was ensnared in a feud with growers that poured over into the Legislature as delays prevented release to patients.
During his tenure, Strain also was involved in a renewed controversy after Governor John Bel Edwards asked lawmakers to review a law unique to Louisiana that requires at least one florist in every retail florist’s shop to have an occupational license
It’s a battle Strain has fought since 2010.
Strain fought off attacks by showing patterns of growth in the agricultural and forestry industries under his leadership.
Strain secured 57% of the vote, according to complete but unofficial results from Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s Office.
Strain previously served 17 years with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Reserves as a Lieutenant in the Special Operations Division and as a Commissioner for St. Tammany Parish Fire District 12. He was also appointed by the parish government to serve on the Local Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee. In 1999, he was elected to the first of two terms as State Representative, where he served on the Agriculture Committee and chaired the Legislative Rural Caucus.