It’s not about the beef plant, or at least it’s not all about the failed facility at Oakland that cost Mississippi taxpayers at least $50 million.
That’s a point on which the party nominees for commissioner of agriculture and commerce – Dr. Lester Spell for the Republicans and Rickey Cole for the Democrats – agree.
Truth is, the department is largely a regulatory agency. Duties include enforcing baselines for people selling gasoline, pest control services, farm chemicals and such. Voters rarely put much emphasis on who serves in the post, but this year is different due to incidents nationwide of impure foods and, in Mississippi, the beef plant fiasco.