Second time’s the charm
Jim Hogan caught his second wind - and he wants your vote.
The Cleburne farmer is running for agriculture commissioner, after a failed attempt in 2014, when he lost the vote to Sid Miller by a 37.2 percent margin.
However, Hogan is doing things differently this time around.
He’s running as a Republican, whereas in 2014 he ran as a Democrat.
When asked why he made the switch to the other side, Hogan said he thought he’d have a better chance at winning as a Republican.
“Everything I did was supposedly the wrong thing to do, but I thought it was the right thing to do [back in 2014],” Hogan said. “I knew at the time that if I’d run as a Democrat, I couldn’t beat a Republican.
“I’m not a politician. I don’t want to be a politician, but I do want to be ag commissioner.”
Hogan was in the dairy business for more than 30 years.
After he retired from dairying, he worked in insurance.
Currently, he owns several beef cows and raises his own produce, which he gives away to friends and family.
In Hogan’s opinion, some of the candidates that have run for ag commissioner the last few elections haven’t been qualified enough for the position.
“The qualification for this office is you need to be a farmer for five out of the last 10 years,” Hogan said. “A lot of people have run for this office that aren’t necessarily farmers, so I thought I’d stick my hat in the ring.”
Trey Blocker, a Republican newcomer who was once a lobbyist, is running against Hogan and Miller.
“I met Trey once,” Hogan said. “I met him in Waco. He was dressed in a suit like a lawyer. He was a nice enough gentleman. He may be qualified, but he doesn’t have the qualfications for this office.”
So it surprised many that no-name Hogan won the Democratic primary in 2014 against Texas celebrity Kinky Friedman.
However, he couldn’t muster the votes needed to beat Stephenville native Sid Miller, who is the current ag commissioner and running for re-election.
“I like Sid Miller,” Hogan said. “He may write some silly things on his Facebook, and if he were here I’d probably call him out on it. But I’m not going to say anything bad about him.”
Hogan said Miller has a love of politics and doesn’t think he should have drawn a salary while out on the campaign trail in his last year of office.
“If Sid was sitting right here I’d say, ’Sid, why’d you do that? You know better than that.’ You’re elected to the office, you do the job. The fourth year comes around and you want to politic, don’t take the money.”
In fact, Hogan brought Miller one of his home-grown watermelons in a gesture of goodwill.
“I believe in love over hate,” said Hogan. “Kindness over cruelty.”
Hogan said he’s keeping his platforms and issues simple.
Water conservation, getting young farmers back into agriculture and organics-real or myth, are the problems that keep him up at night.
“These problems aren’t easy to deal with, or else they’d been solved already,” Hogan said.
Hogan said the Texas ag department, with a nearly $600 billion budget, could add another desalinization plant to help Texas’ water and drought woes.
“El Paso already has one,” he said. “In West Texas, we could drill down 6,000 feet and hit salt water. The University of Texas has already done a study about this.”
Additionally, Hogan wants young people to get excited about farming again.
He’s worried about the takeover of large corporate farms.
“Back in the day, there was competition so farmers could sell their crops or milk to different companies and get different prices,” Hogan said. “Now, there is more of a monopoly on the market and it’s not as easy for the little guy. I don’t think you want corporations to raise your food, because they don’t care what you eat.”
Above all, Hogan wants his campaign to be about hope and his own moral compass.
“Running sometimes means more than winning,” Hogan said. “It means telling people what you stand for. Sometimes you can change people’s minds or just inspire them.”