Vi Simpson would be Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture if she and her running mate, John Gregg, the Democratic candidate for governor, are successful this fall. One of her responsibilities would be assessing the status of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and laying out a plan for its future. (Republican nominee Sue Ellspermann was also interviewed, view her responses here: Part I; Part II)
Simpson has indicated that it’s probably time to develop another strategic plan for ISDA. She believes more attention should be paid to developing the ag and rural economy, and putting more resources within ISDA focused on that task.
IPF: What type of ISDA would you envision under your administration?
SIMPSON: I don’t foresee a complete overhaul. I believe it takes a commitment between the Governor and Lt. Governor to work on these issues as a team. Job creation would be a team effort for both of us.
It’s all a matter of priorities. We would refocus our resources.
I’ve worked under five governors during my 28 years in the Indiana Senate. Several things define each governor’s service. You can look at the effect they have on the people they put in charge. Look who they bring to the table to talk about important issues? Our attitude will be to work together with people to find solutions to problems.
IPF: The drought will have devastating effects not only on farmers but rural communities. What, if anything, could you do to address this situation?
SIMPSON: We need to do a better job of publicizing what help is available. Plus, we need a plan and team in place to handle emergencies, such as drought, flooding or tornadoes. We need to do a better job of having departments within state government that work on similar issues working together day by day.
This is part two in a three-part series. View part I.