After Tuesday’s vote, Georgia’s November races for the commissioners of agriculture, labor and insurance are set.
These three positions have a heavy hand in regulating different aspects of the state. Each leads the state’s department in its respective field, and the responsibilities of each office are far-reaching.
The Dept. of Agriculture regulates and monitors most food-related issues, from which pesticides are allowed for farming to acceptable practices in bottling and food processing plants. The oversight also extends to gas station pump calibration and regulating pet breeders, as well as a wide berth of other issues.
The commissioner of Insurance monitors insurance companies, provides licensing services to insurance agents and regulates industrial loan officers. The office also answers questions and complaints regarding specific insurance providers and rates.
The Labor Commissioner is responsible for implementing the state’s workforce regulations and operating Georgia’s unemployment insurance and rehabilitation programs.
Each position comes with a four-year term.
Commissioner of Labor
The Republican nominee for Labor Commissioner is Bruce Thompson who won with 62% of the vote Tuesday night.
Thompson is a member of the Georgia Senate, representing District 14, a position he has held since 2013. Thompson introduced and signed controversial legislation in 2022, including a bill that would require women to see doctors in person before receiving a specific abortion pill, and Georgia’s iteration of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Current Labor Commissioner Mark Butler decided not to run for the position again this year, citing “new opportunities” and saying he wants to focus on his family.
On the Democratic side, Will Boddie and Nicole Horn advanced to a runoff, as both finished with less than 30% of the vote in a five-way race. Savannah’s Lester Jackson was third. Boddie and Horn will meet again on June 21.
Boddie is the current state representative for Georgia House District 62 and has held the seat since 2017. Boddie has been a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the South Fulton and Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, the Douglas County Small Business Society, the City of Douglasville Housing Committee, and the Douglas County Democratic Party.
Horn worked previously as a political fundraiser and media consultant and in public radio and TV news. In 2002, she and her husband built a business that “helped colleges and universities develop programs to train and retrain the workforce.” She says she hopes to improve the disbursement of unemployment benefits, create mobile career centers and introduce apprenticeship programs in tandem with the Technical College System of Georgia.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Republican Tyler Harper secured the Republican nomination for Labor Commissioner on Tuesday, winning his unopposed contest.
Currently the state senator for District 6, the Republican farmer from Ocilla says he is looking to keep liberal influence out of Georgia. He says if elected, he will “ensure our food supplies are kept safe, making sure that our families are fed. He will always put Georgia agriculture first and fight the overreach of Washington, D.C.”
Harper will face off against Democrat Nakita Hemingway in November. Hemingway won with 56% of the vote.
Hemingway works as an entrepreneur, Realtor and cut-flower farmer. She says if elected, she will build a world-class food system that enables Georgia farmers to become more profitable. Hemingway ran for Georgia House District 104 in 2020, but lost.
Sitting Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black did not seek re-election, mounting a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Raphael Warnock instead.
Commissioner of Insurance
November’s commissioner of Insurance race is yet to be determine, with Democrats Janice Laws Robinson and Raphael Baker headed to a runoff. The winner will face Republican John King, who defeated Trump-backed candidate Patrick Witt with 70% of the vote.
Robinson ran for insurance commissioner in 2018 and lost with 47% of the vote. Robinson says if elected she will make sure “there is a pathway for all our families to be included at the level of the commissioner’s office in a reliable and sustainable way.”
Baker is an insurance salesman and author who says he will advocate for reasonable insurance rates if elected. He hopes to work with legislators to bring affordable health care to the people of Georgia, provide equitable insurance rates for Black Georgians, and lower car insurance premiums.
King, the incumbent Republican, was appointed as the insurance commissioner in 2019, after Jim Beck was suspended from the position. King served as the Doraville police chief for 17 years. King said he hopes to “restore trust in the department of Insurance, eliminate corruption, and advance policies that put consumers ahead of the special interests.”
Will Peebles is the enterprise reporter for Savannah Morning News. He can be reached at [email protected] and @willpeeblessmn on Twitter.