Ever since I bought my first citrus grove thirty years ago, I’ve been ‘knee-deep’ in the production agriculture business. When I bought my first grove, I was working in my family’s citrus business, learning the ‘ins and outs’ of the industry.
When I turned 35, I took a leap of faith and resigned from the family business to start my own business. I opened Labor Solutions, a staffing company in Frostproof, Florida. Since opening its doors, we’ve helped over 52,000 people find jobs throughout the Sunshine State.
Along with Labor Solutions and my citrus groves, I also own and operate two other businesses in Central Florida. In 2011, I opened a meat processing shop called ‘Chop N’ Block,” satisfying a special niche needed for the hunting community. I also own and operate “Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch,” a cattle ranch in Highlands County.
In business, I have implemented a system called KPIs, or ‘Key Performance Indicators.’ In business, things that get measured get done and people must be held accountable. When elected, I plan on implementing a similar system to ensure that employees are given clear expectations and metrics.
The Commissioner of Agriculture oversees the second largest department in Florida, with over 19 divisions and thousands of employees. Amongst other things, the department inspects Florida’s fruits and vegetables, administers the concealed carry permitting process, and ensures that gas pumps are accurately measuring the amount of fuel you’re pumping into your vehicle. Florida needs a businessman and entrepreneur at the helm of the department; not another politician looking to advance their political career.
I can promise you today: I have no intention whatsoever of running for office after serving as Agriculture Commissioner. You couldn’t melt me down and poor me into Congress or the Governor’s mansion.
As a lifelong businessman and entrepreneur, I fully understand how intrusive government regulations can be. I also know how taxes can prevent job growth. While the Commissioner of Agriculture doesn’t necessarily set tax rates or regulations, he can help influence the legislative process. And I fully intend to work with the legislature to lower taxes and remove unnecessary regulations. I believe the role of government is to ‘draw the lines on the field’ and get the hell out of the way for business’ and entrepreneurs to create a thriving economy. I plan to bring this mindset, and my lifetime of business experience to Tallahassee.