Agribusiness reporter David Geiger sits down with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig the Republican Candidate for the race this November to talk about his qualifications.
Q: You just got the candidacy for Republican nominee for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture a couple weeks ago, so the first thing I want to ask is what makes you best qualified to be elected this November?
A: "You bet, well, first of all, it's a great process, a great primary campaign and very competitive race some great people in it so I'm just thrilled an honored to have the support of folks across the state and to have earned the Republican nomination. And so, now we're really focused on November and connecting with voters all across the state. I think what I bring to this that is somewhat unique is just the experience of being on the job. Certainly, when I started, going back to the deputy secretary back in 2013 working alongside Bill Northey and then here earlier this year and March when I was appointed by Governor Reynolds to replace Bill Northey when he went to Washington I certainly bring the experience of being on the job now for several months. So, I think when you bring that experience plus my deep roots in agriculture and my passion for working on ag issues, I think that puts together a really nice package and a set of skills an experiences that I think puts me in a good position to be successful in this campaign."
Q: For the last decade, Republicans have had control of the Iowa Department of Agriculture, do you think that contributes at all to our current agriculture economy here in Iowa?
A: "I do, and I think it's important that we keep that kind of conservative leadership department of ag and as I think about how we go about our work at the department, it's really important that we work together with the governor and certainly Governor Reynolds and her team and my office are very close and working together on issues like trade, like renewable fuels. Working together with our congressional delegation and having that strong united front puts us in a good position to advocate on behalf of Iowa farmers and Iowa businesses and so it is important I think to keep that kind of Republican leadership across the state."
Q: The Iowa Department of Agriculture doesn't just work with farmers. It also works with agribusinesses and other groups. How do you hope to reach out to them?
A: "Well, I say it's true, the department of ag really does reach across the state and interacts with all kinds of folks. And really, lets really dial back and zoom out here. Agriculture is one of the core elements of Iowa's economy, right. So, our success as a state is very much linked to our success in agriculture. And so from that standpoint, having strong leadership at department of ag, having a strong leadership for agriculture really does benefit the entire state when it comes to our economy. But specifically to the function of the department, yes, we interact with farmers and businesses and consumers of all types. So, with our weights and measures bureau and the different agencies we have or bureaus within the agency we do reach many folks, so how do I stay connected with people on that? I'm committed to traveling this state. It's the best part of the job, is to get across the state and interact with Iowans. To visit with folks, with farmers, with businesses with communities and understand what their issues are, what their challenges are, what are the good things that are going on and then bring those things back to the department and then do something about those, so that's how as a secretary I think you stay plugged in and engaged in folks across the state. Farmers, businesses, communities alike and that's an important function that the secretary must do and that's to get out and about and connect with Iowans."