Garrard County farmer, state rep. announces plans for Ag Commissioner bid

GARRARD COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A fifth-generation Garrard County farmer has  filed a letter of intent to run for the Republican nomination for Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture in the 2023 election.

Jonathan Shell made the announcement Wednesday. Warren Beeler, who led the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy under administrations of both political parties, will serve as his campaign chairman.

“I’m optimistic about the future of Kentucky because of the hardworking men and women who make this Commonwealth great,” Shell said. “This campaign is about supporting farm families and ensuring that all Kentucky communities, from the most rural to the most urban, understand the importance of our agriculture industry.

“I’m going to defend agriculture and conservative Kentucky values on every front. This will be an aggressive campaign built on homegrown values I’ve learned on the family farm. I’m pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-growth and pro-farmer, and I live these values every day.

“The last two commissioners, James Comer and Ryan Quarles, have done a tremendous job in this office. I plan to build on their legacy of competent administration and visionary leadership that supports family farms,” Shell said.

By law, Quarles, the current commissioner, is term-limited and can’t seek a third term.

State Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield, also has announced plans to seek the post.

Shell was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2012, becoming the youngest member of the General Assembly. Before the 2016 election, he was tapped by Republican leadership to spearhead candidate recruitment. Kentucky then elected its first Republican House Majority in nearly 100 years.

The following year, he elected Republican House Majority Floor Leader.

Shell owns State Solutions LLC, which provides strategic and public policy advice for various statewide organizations. He also served as Chairman of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s 2020 campaign, which defeated its opponent by 20 points despite being outspent by more than $25 million.

He works on his family’s farm, Shell Farms and Greenhouses, in Garrard County, where they grow flowers, corn and pumpkins and raise cattle. He and his wife, Brooke, have four children.

They attend Pilot Knob Missionary Baptist Church in Berea, where he is the Sunday School Director.

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