Audubon of Florida representative Eric Draper says he's filing papers today to run for state Agriculture Commissioner as a Democrat.
Draper, 55, is Audubon's deputy director and has been with the group since 1995, previously having worked for The Nature Conservancy. He frequently speaks at the Capitol before the Cabinet and legislative committees on pending issues.
Although farmers and environmentalists are sometimes at odds on legislation, Draper said he's had good relationships with agriculture people to protect the environment. He said he helped write the Rural and Family Lands Protection Act to help the state buy conservation easements to preserve farmland.
"I've worked hard on policies that are good for agriculture," Draper said. "And I think the people are going to see me as someone with a balanced and cooperative approach."
Other Democrats in the race include former state Rep. Rick Minton Jr. of Fort Pierce and former Suwannee County Commissioner Randy Hatch of Branford. Republicans running include U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, state Sen. Carey Baker of Eustis and former Rep. Marsha "Marty" Bowen of Winter Haven.