Compare the Candidates – Biographical Profiles and Positions on the Issues

March 4, 2014 Texas Republican Party State Primary

Candidates for Commissioner Of Agriculture, Texas

Eric Opiela - R
www.ericopiela.comwww.ericopiela.com
(512) 590-2289
37
J. Allen Carnes - R
Joe Cotten - R
Sid Miller - R
www.millerfortexas.comwww.millerfortexas.com
(254) 986-3535
59
Tommy Merritt - R
www.tommymerritt.comwww.tommymerritt.com
(903) 238-9100
67
Biographical
General (political statement of goals, objectives, views, philosophies)
Eric Opiela

Eric Opiela is a 5th generation Texan, rancher, and property rights advocate. He knows the issues affecting our farmers and ranchers aren’t isolated to our agricultural industry – they affect every Texan and much of the world. That’s why he’s running

J. Allen Carnes

No response

Joe Cotten

Why am I running for this office? To make a difference with independent decisions while preserving our Texas values of God, country, family, the flag, and our independence. I am pro-Constitution and will STAND UP AGAINST the Obamanites.

Sid Miller

No response

Tommy Merritt

No response

Personal (gender, age, marital status, spouse's name and age, children's name and ages, home town, current residence)
Eric Opiela

Eric and his wife, Lara, split time between Karnes City and Austin with their two children, Natalie and Ryan.

J. Allen Carnes

J grew up on a ranch. J also commits his time and resources supporting his community of Uvalde with his wife Brooke and their three children.

Joe Cotten

No response

Sid Miller

Gender: Male

Family: Wife: Debra

2 Children: Truett, Joseph.

Birth Date: 09/06/1955

Birthplace: DeLeon, TX

Home City: Stephenville, TX

Tommy Merritt

Tommy and his wife Janet are the proud parents of 3 children and have 1 grandchild. They live in Kilgore.

Profession (professional and work experience outside politics)
Eric Opiela

For the past decade Eric has worked on behalf of landowners as a property rights attorney. After law school, he clerked for The Honorable Mary Ellen Coster Williams, on the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC.

J. Allen Carnes

J returned home to Uvalde and Winter Garden starting as a field harvest manager, working his way up through various sales and management positions; ultimately becoming principal owner and manager. J and his family also own over 3500 acres of farmland

Joe Cotten

No response

Sid Miller

Owner, Miller Christmas Stores, 1988-2000

Owner, Lone Oak Farms, 1983-2000

Owner, Miller Nursery and Tree Company, 1983-2000

Teacher, Vocational Agriculture, 1978-1983

Cattleman

Deacon/Sunday School Teacher, Green Creek Baptist Church

Self Employed Farmer/Landscape Contractor

Retail Merchant

Wholesale Nurseryman.

Tommy Merritt

Founder, Gregg Industrial Insulators, 1976-present

Postal Inspector, United States Postal Service, 1971-1974

In addition to being a working farmer and rancher, Merritt created hundreds of jobs as a small business owner.

Civic (past and present organizations, charities involvement)
Eric Opiela

Chairs the South Texans’ Property Rights Association’s Eminent Domain Committee. Eric served as the Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas from 2008-2009, and currently is its Associate General Counsel. He was Chairman of the Karnes County

J. Allen Carnes

Member, Texas Rural Health and Economic Development Advisory Council

Past President and Director Texas Vegetable Association

PastDirector Texas Produce Association

Texas Representative, National Council of Ag Employers; Member, United Fresh-Government

Joe Cotten

No response

Sid Miller

Member, American Legislative Exchange Council, present

Member, Future Farmers of America Advisory Board, present

Member, Green Creek Baptist Church, present

Member, House Veterans and Military Affairs Coalition, present

Member, Leadership Stephenville

Tommy Merritt

Member, Junior Achievement of East Texas

Member, Rail Working Group, National Conference of State Legislators

Member, Turn Around Kilgore

Member, Turn Around Longview.

Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees:

Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, 1996-present

Member,

Political (dates and titles of previously held political offices)
Eric Opiela

No response

J. Allen Carnes

First elected to the City Council in 2008, J was elected Mayor in 2012.

Joe Cotten

No response

Sid Miller

Representative, Texas State House of Representatives, 2000-present

Member, Stephenville Independent School District Board, 1999-2000.

Tommy Merritt

Representative, Texas State House of Representatives, 1996-present

Chairman/Director, Gregg County Appraisal Board, 1986-1993.

Religion (current and past religious affiliations, beliefs)
Eric Opiela

No response

J. Allen Carnes

Finance Chairperson for the First United Methodist Church.

Joe Cotten

No response

Sid Miller

No response

Tommy Merritt

Member, First Baptist Church

Education (times and places of schools, colleges, major, degrees, activities, sports)
Eric Opiela

Eric graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

J. Allen Carnes

Degree in Finance from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business in 1997.

Joe Cotten

No response

Sid Miller

BS, Vocational Agricultural Education, Tarleton State University, 1978

AA, Cisco Junior College, 1976.

Tommy Merritt

BBA, Texas Christian University, 1970

Attended, Kilgore College.

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