Compare the Candidates – Biographical Profiles and Positions on the Issues

March 4, 2014 Texas Republican Party State Primary

Candidates for Commissioner Of Agriculture, Texas

J. Allen Carnes - R
jcarnesfortexas.comjcarnesfortexas.com
PO Box 1172Uvalde, TX 78802
Joe Cotten - R
joecottenag.com/joecottenag.com/
no address
Tommy Merritt - R
www.tommymerritt.comwww.tommymerritt.com
P.O. Box 2962Longview, TX 75606
(903) 238-9100
67
Sid Miller - R
www.millerfortexas.comwww.millerfortexas.com
6407 S US Hwy 377Stephenville, TX 76401
254-986-3535
59
Eric Opiela - R
www.ericopiela.comwww.ericopiela.com
12012 Technology Blvd., Suite 201Austin, TX 78727
(512) 590-2289
37
Biographical
Personal (gender, age, marital status, spouse's name and age, children's name and ages, home town, current residence)
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

Tommy Merritt

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

Sid Miller

Gender: Male

Family: Wife: Debra

2 Children: Truett, Joseph.

Birth Date: 09/06/1955

Birthplace: DeLeon, TX

Home City: Stephenville, TX

Eric Opiela

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

Education (times and places of schools, colleges, major, degrees, activities, sports)
J. Allen Carnes

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

Joe Cotten

No response

Tommy Merritt

BBA, Texas Christian University, 1970

Attended, Kilgore College.

Sid Miller

BS, Vocational Agricultural Education, Tarleton State University, 1978

AA, Cisco Junior College, 1976.

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.

Profession (professional and work experience outside politics)
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 in the Uvalde area of which J personally manages over 1000 acres and maintains majority interest in the cotton gin.

Joe Cotten

No response

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.

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.

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.

Civic (past and present organizations, charities involvement)
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 Relations Council; Executive Board Member, Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform

Executive Board Member, Middle Rio Grande Council of Government

Member, Texas Farm Bureau

Member, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers

Member, South Texans’ Property Rights Association

Member, Texas Lyceum

He also is a member of the Community Health Clinic- Capital Campaign Committee and is a coach for Uvalde Youth Sports.

Joe Cotten

No response

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, Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition Energy Advisory Team, 2000

Sabine River Authority, 1990-1995.

Committees:

Border and International Affairs, Member

Defense Affairs and State/Federal Relations, Member

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 Alumni, present

Member, National Rifle Association, present

Member, Stephenville Independent School District Athletic Booster Club, present

Member, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, present

Member, Texas Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, present

Past Board Member, Erath County Farm Bureau, 1999-2000

Member, Stephenville Optimist Club, 1998-2000

Member, Tarleton State University Alumni Association, 1998-2000

Member, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, 1998-2000

Past Board Member, Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, 1997-2000

Member, Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, 1997-2000

Member, Associated General Contractors of America, 1985-2000

Member, American Nursery and Landscape Association, 1983-2000

Life Member, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, 1978-2000

Past Area Chairman, Ducks Unlimited, 1996-1998.

Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees:

American Legislative Exchange Council's Education Task Force

Member, Conservative Coalition

Member, Education Task Force

Vice-Chair, House Republican Caucus

Member, House Rural Caucus

Member, Legislative Caucus for Missing and Exploited Children

Member, Sportsman's Caucus

Member, Technology Caucus.

Committees:

Agriculture and Livestock, Chair

Civil Practices, Member

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 Republican Party for four years, and currently is serving in his second term representing Senate District 21 on the Texas State Republican Executive Committee. He’s worked with leaders across our state to strengthen our party and usher in a new era of conservative leadership in Texas.

He is also active in his community, serving as president of the Karnes City Independent School District Education Foundation, member of the Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership Class IX, lifetime member of the Texas State Rifle Association, National Rifle Association member, and as a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Elizabeth’s Mission, Fashing, Texas.

Political (dates and titles of previously held political offices)
J. Allen Carnes

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

Joe Cotten

No response

Tommy Merritt

Representative, Texas State House of Representatives, 1996-present

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

Sid Miller

Representative, Texas State House of Representatives, 2000-present

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

Eric Opiela

No response

Religion (current and past religious affiliations, beliefs)
J. Allen Carnes

Finance Chairperson for the First United Methodist Church.

Joe Cotten

No response

Tommy Merritt

Member, First Baptist Church

Sid Miller

No response

Eric Opiela

No response

General (political statement of goals, objectives, views, philosophies)
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.

Tommy Merritt

No response

Sid Miller

No response

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 to be our next Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

With a working 2,300 acre cow-calf family ranch, Eric understands why the rights of private property owners are sacred and knows firsthand hardships facing Texas Agriculture today.

The number one issue facing Texas and Agriculture is the availability of water. Eric is a water expert. Eric has represented landowners in groundwater disputes, advised water conservation districts on rulemaking, and organized landowners to successfully fight the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the historic Klamath River case. His experience has prepared him to lead on the issue.

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