Kinky Friedman for Agricultural Commissioner

Catch him this morning at the polls

Kinky Friedman with ‘Playback’ mascot Momar, shot last month.
Kinky Friedman with ‘Playback’ mascot Momar, shot last month. (by John Anderson)

“There’re very few musicians who are politicians and I think the reason is musicians are really good, creative, and honest people with integrity,” grins Kinky Friedman. “When you’re in a room full of musicians, you’re with decent people. If you’re in a room full of politicians... Well, you know.”

Texas’ favorite Jewish cowboy still tries to be both. I caught up with the country singer, author, animal advocate, and onetime Lone Star gubernatorial candidate on the campaign trail for his bid to become the state’s Agriculture Commissioner, whose duties include supervising school lunches and addressing the needs of small farmers and ranchers. He lost in the primaries four years ago, but he’s got a new platform this year.

The centerpiece of Friedman’s campaign is lifting prohibition on marijuana and hemp. He says the agriculture office could assist with pilot projects and grants. What that would do, says Friedman, is bring the issue to the courts where he thinks, “Some fine lawyering could be done.”

Friedman points to both economic and social advantages of marijuana legalization. He believes it might finally bring the drug war, a battle in which, “We’re getting our asses handed to us,” to a screeching halt. It would castrate the Mexican cartels, make us taxpayers the new bosses, and save state money on incarcerating pot offenders and thus stimulate the economy.

“I’ve talked to left-wingers and right-wingers and they both think it could be the next big cash crop,” says Friedman. “I’ll tell you what, the Poteet Strawberry festival could be called something else in about a year.”

And that’s not the only new catch phrase the quotable cowboy is touting this election. He’s asking Texas voters, “Do you want to be seceders or leaders?” Legalizing marijuana, says Friedman, would make a political statement heard around the world considering Texas’ size and conservative reputation.

Friedman also advocates the legalization of hemp. During an event at the One-2-One bar last month – part campaign rally, part concert, part fundraiser for his dog rescue facility – the Kinkster informed his audience that China was the world’s leader producer of hemp.

“Do you know who the world’s biggest customer of hemp is?” he asked the audience. “Willie Nelson! No, it’s America and Texas should be the leading producer.”

That issue, he feels is especially relevant to the Ag Commissioner position, for which water conservation remains a primary issue, because hemp uses considerably less water than cotton and requires no pesticides. With any new idea, Kinky says voters should ask themselves, “Is it good for Texas?”

For Friedman to be on the ballot in November, he must win the Democratic primary today. He casts his vote this morning at approximately 11am at the Thunder Hills Biker Church in Kerrville.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Kinky Friedman
Bell Rings for Kinky in Agriculture Race
Bell Rings for Kinky in Agriculture Race
Former Dem governor hopeful endorses man that helped him lose in '06

Richard Whittaker, May 7, 2014

Nolan Ryan Pitching at Kinky Friedman?
Nolan Ryan Pitching at Kinky Friedman?
The no-hitter king and the Jewish cowboy for ag commissioner

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 4, 2013

More by Kevin Curtin
Listen to This: David Beck Breaks Down Bloom & Fade
Listen to This: David Beck Breaks Down Bloom & Fade
Family ties and looking at life, track-by-track

Sept. 22, 2022

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Carrie Rodriguez's Laboratorio, itchy-O, Fontaines D.C., Ash Lauryn, Nas & Wu-Tang, and more

Sept. 23, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Kinky Friedman, Agricultural Commissioner, One-2-One Bar, Willie Nelson, marijuana

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle