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News Section: State Government

Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services 2010 Candidates

Published Saturday, October 9, 2010 2:00 am
The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the head of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The position is elected by voters statewide and the commissioner is a member of the Florida Cabinet. The commissioner serves a four-year term, and is limited to two consecutive terms. The vast majority of FDACS is dedicated to consumer regulation and the protection of agricultural goods to market. The following are the four candidates for the 2010 election:

Ira Chester – Tea Party

Ira Chester

Chester has been a rather elusive candidate in this race. He offers no information, not even contact info, on legitimate campaign websites except for his own. He has no headshot or background on the tea party website. As a matter of fact, he has no real conection to the tea party in general, the only common ground they have is that neither knows much about the other.


“The truth is we really don’t know much about him,” said Tea Party Strategist Doug Guetzloe. “I do know he is qualified and has a great chance at winning. He is state-wide and tea party candidates are winning across the nation."


Chester feels the same. When asked why his bio wasn't on website he said,."I don't know much about the tea party and I don't adhere to everything they stand for. I'm running on the tea party ballot because they are alot of angry people, and I figure if they're angry and I'm angry, then that is the place I should be."


His mission is to make Florida Agriculture and Seafood more recognizable as the premier product on the market. His justification is that it is the highest of quality, even though it It may cost a bit more. He also plans to protect consumers from predatory practices by businesses and government, and serve the people of Florida.


Chester held the office of Chief of the Bureau of General Services for the Florida Department of State for 16 years. He is currently retired from his CEO position at Perfect Cleaning Company Inc. and position as Vice President of Apollo Supply & Plastics. He served as co-campaign manager for George Firestone when he ran for Florida Secretary of State. He is a Lifetime Member of Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, was President of Chamber’s President’s Club and Chamber’s Board of Directors, was a member Board of Directors for the Tallahassee Symphony and was a member Board of Directors United Way and the Budget Committee. He is now retired.

Chester graduated from Erasmus Hall High School, which is a private academy in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. He now resides in Tallahassee with his wife of 53 years. He has a daughter, Karen, and son, David.

He is a proponent of stopping offshore drilling and preventing government waste.

Thad Hamilton – No Party Affiliation

Thad Hamiltion
Born and raised on a farm in Marvell, Arkansas, Hamilton was an early advocate of the conservation of natural resources. Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a minor in Military Science from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, he began working for the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) in New Mexico as a soil conservationist. He spent the next 36 years devoted to working with the USDA-NRCS. For 14 years, he worked with farmers, communities, schools and many organizations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. In 2000, he became the first Chairperson of Broward County’s $400 million land preservation advisory council. During 2001-2006, he directed the South Florida Urban and Community Assistance Program (SFUCAP), serving the 16 southern counties of Florida. Hamilton has represented the USDA on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Working Group. In 2008, he was elected to the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.

Hamilton was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, he was director of Civil Military Operations at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. He also was an instructor with the US Army Commander General Staff College in Florida. In 2000, he retired from the US Army after providing 28 years of service.

Hamilton is the 1991 recipient of the President of the United States Environmental Protection Service Award, three-time recipient of the USDA national Earth Team Award and has received over 200 other awards and recognitions.

Hamilton is married to Karen Hamilton, who has been teaching for 30 years. He is the parent of three adult children, Kiya, Terris and Thaddeus Lamar.

Scott Maddox -- Democrat

Scott Maddox

Maddox is a native Floridian, he was born in Hialeah and raised on the farmlands of Homestead and, later, of rural Leon County.


He is no stranger to the political scene. Following his graduation from Leon High School in Tallahassee, he was elected as the youngest United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) president in the country. Maddox earned a Bachelors of Science degree in political science and public administration from Florida State University and then graduated from Florida State College of Law.

While still in law school in 1993, at the age of 24, he was elected as the youngest city commissioner in Tallahassee’s history. A year later, his fellow commissioners elected him mayor pro-tempore. In 1995, they chose him as the city’s mayor. In 1996, the citizens of Tallahassee passed a referendum calling for a new “leadership” mayor elected directly by residents to serve a four-year term. That first elected mayor – Scott Maddox.

In 1999, Scott served as president of the Florida League of Cities, elected to that post by mayors, city commissioners and city council members from around the state. In 2003, Scott was elected chairman of the Florida Democratic Party and also served as a member of the Democratic National Committee.  

He resides in Tallahassee with his wife Sha, a public school teacher, and their two boys, Jack and Denver, who attend Leon County Public Schools.

Adam Putnam – Republican

Adam Putnam

Adam is a 5th generation Floridian born into a Polk County citrus and cattle ranching family. He is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Resource Economics. Adam lives in Bartow with his wife, Melissa, and their four children.


Adam Putnam was elected to the state House at the age of 22 and quickly became the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. During Adam’s tenure in Congress, he served as a member of the House Committee on Government Reform, serving as a Subcommittee Chairman, Rules Committee, Agriculture Committee and the Financial Services Committee.  Additionally, he was elected by his colleagues to the Chairmanship of the House Republican Conference -- the highest elected leadership position any Floridian of either party has ever held.


Throughout his Congressional career, Adam has been recognized as a leader on a variety of issues, most notably agriculture, food safety, childhood nutrition, energy and government efficiency.

Putnam was most noted for reforming food safety laws and bringing disaster assistance to impacted agriculture in Florida after the 2004 hurricane season and outbreak of citrus canker. He is a proponent of reforming of government transparency. Most recently, he drafted legislation that would reform the “earmark” process in Congress — reforms that have now been instituted.

Join the conversation post Facebook comments here or on our site at the bottom of article.


  In Addition to Facebook Comments You Can Also Post Comments Below

Non-Facebook Comments:

DO NOT BE FOOLED!!! The TEA party is a fake and a Demo plant. True tea partiers are backing truly conservative, REPUBLICAN candidates. We know that fielding our own candidates would split the conservative vote and ensure a demo win. The people who registered the TEA party, were democrats less than 2 months before they set the Party up. DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY TEA PARTY LISTED CANDIDATE!!!
Posted by Tad MacKie on November 1, 2010

I'd like to hear Adam Putnam answer the accusation of a $100,000. earmark for the citrus industry just before retiring from Congress. Doesn't seem to jive with claims of writing legislation that would "reform" the earmark process in Washington.
Posted by Deborah Sclater on October 24, 2010

I agree with the first poster. I also, like every year researuch every canidate and came to the same conclusion. What a disgrace, knowing you can't win in your own party, so you switch to one with different ideals that you don't even have a clue about
Posted by B.R. Harp on October 20, 2010

Putnam is endorsed by the NRA and I also was going to vote for the so called TEA party - but Now I will vote for Putnam as he will oversea the CCP program and it is very important to have a freedom loving person in charge.
Posted by bob walker on October 20, 2010

I hope this fake TEA party candidate does not cost Adam Putnam the election. I was almost fooled, too. He is just hoping to ride into office on the wave of the public's discontent with "politics as usual". People, please do your homework before you vote. Every vote makes a difference!
Posted by L J LeFleur on October 19, 2010

It appears to me that Ira Chester is a fake TEA party candidate.
He is a Democrat trying to ride the TEA party wave. Well he won't get my vote, he almost fooled me because I had never seen TEA as a party affiliation on a ballot and was going to vote that way. I decided that this election was so important that I would research every candidate, even the Judges before i go to the polls. After several hours on the internet I found out that Ira Chester is a fraud. It's despicle that someone would call themselves a TEA partier when they are really a democrat. This is exactly the kind of politician the TEA party does not want in Washington or Tallahassee
Posted by David Baglin on October 16, 2010

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