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Republican candidate for Ag Commissioner says political inexperience is an asset

Rancher Carey Counsil’s only prior political experience is serving on a local school board. But he said he thinks that experience is invaluable.

DALLAS — Running against an incumbent and a state Representative, the third Republican in the race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner faces a tough path to victory against two political veterans. 

Rancher Carey Counsil’s only prior political experience is serving on a local school board. But he said he thinks that experience is invaluable.

“I think that's probably one of the most important jobs in the state of Texas, even though it's probably the least recognized job," Cousil told Inside Texas Politics. "I was on our independent school district school board for a couple terms. You’re handling two of the most important factors: people’s kids and people’s money."

Counsil said he believes the fact that he would be new to Austin is a factor that could help him in the race, as he thinks Texans are tired of the status quo and political "lifers." 

He has some hard work ahead of him, though. According to the most recent Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll, among the most likely GOP primary voters, current Commissioner Sid Miller leads Counsil 34% to 2%. The third Republican in the race, state Rep. James White, came in at 3%. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Miller.

Counsil listed securing the border and controlling inflationary spending among his priorities on his campaign website. The Republican said it doesn’t matter that neither fall under the responsibilities of the agriculture commissioner. He said having a say in the conversation is what’s important.

“If you’re a voice in agriculture and you’re a voice in Austin, you can be a proponent for that and be a voice to the constituents,” Counsil said. “That’s where I think Austin has gotten lost. They don’t listen to what the constituents actually want.”

In terms of the border, Counsil said he would like to streamline the immigration process and end what he calls “free rein” travel across the border. But, he’s well aware Texas farmers and ranchers export almost a billion dollars’ worth of product to Mexico every year.

“So, it’s not so much closing it - and it’s a misnomer that Trump had the borders closed - but a free rein to come back and forth across the border is something that we cannot tolerate, we can’t afford as citizens of the United States and we can’t afford that as Texans,” he said.

The Texas Primary is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.