Youngest candidate for state office makes stop in Gulfport
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The youngest candidate on the statewide ballot was in Gulfport on Friday as part of a statewide tour.
18-year-old Terry Rogers of Quitman could take on Andy Gipson in November for Mississippi’s next commissioner of agriculture.
He may be a teenager, but he knows how to relate to people like politicians many times his age.
He’s running for the Democratic nomination for commissioner of agriculture.
“I’m on the Democratic ticket, but more importantly, I’m running as an American and I’m running as Mississippian. Don’t let party confuse me with anything that’s going on in Washington, because whenever I’m elected, I am going to bring a broom to Jackson, because it’s a mess.”
He is fighting age stereotypes with knowledge, and he knows agriculture is powerful.
“This is a $10 billion industry and there’s only 4,000 farms,” Rogers said. “Imagine how much - if you divide that equally - how much each farmer is making. There’s money out here in the agriculture industry. It’s the leading industry in the state, and we’re just going to keep on blossoming.”
He also knows what farmers are facing.
“I’m going to ask the USDA to give us some grants so that people can have their land grants,” he said. “There’s a significant amount of Mississippi farmers who don’t even own their own land.”
He had hopes of bringing his campaign pledges to Friday’s Gulfport city council meeting, but political candidates aren’t allowed to speak. The second try landed him a few moments to speak of the “state of agriculture” in the city.
He said he’s not intimidated by running for a statewide office as a teenager.
Rogers decided to run after a chance conversation with farmers while at Jones College.
“I told them, I said I’d pray about it, and if God gives me an answer that I will run. On Feb. 1, God gave me that answer, and when God gave me that answer, I ran.”
Unlike most other state offices, there is no age designation to run for commissioner of agriculture.
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