OCILLA, Georgia (AP) – Republican Senator Tyler Harper announced Tuesday that he was running for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner.

The resident of Ocilla will seek the Republican nomination for a vacancy. Gary Black, who has held the post since 2011, is stepping down to run for the US Senate.

Harper represents Senate District 7, which includes all or part of 10 districts in South Georgia, in his fifth term.

“I’m running for Agriculture Commissioner to fight for our values, the values ​​of the farm,” said Harper in an announcement video. I will fight to keep Washington DC liberal politics out of Georgia. I will face foreign competitors, those who want to change our way of life. And I will protect the values ​​of Georgia. “

Harper currently chairs the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment and has promoted gun rights legislation during his tenure in the Senate.

Nakita Hemingway, a Democrat who lost a 2020 race for the Gwinnett County’s State House to Republican Chuck Efstration, announced earlier this month that she was also running for the position.

State law requires the commissioner to be a “practical farmer”.

The Agriculture Commissioner’s Office helps regulate food safety and promotes business in Georgia’s largest industry. Harper also promised to “provide funding to our farmers in record time”. Some farmers were unhappy that it took more than 18 months to provide federal aid to Georgia farmers after Hurricane Michael 2018. Harper also said he would speak out against efforts to regulate smaller bodies of water, a move some farmers believe could harm them