Ag commissioner candidates to speak Monday

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


The Democratic Women of Wilson County are bringing the three Democratic candidates running in the March primary for North Carolina agriculture commissioner to Wilson. The event starts at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Wilson County Public Library.

The general public, and especially local farmers, are invited. There will be time for questions and discussions.

The three Democratic candidates running for ag commissioner are Jenna Austin Wadsworth, Walter Smith and Donavan Alexander Watson.

Wadsworth became the youngest woman elected to public office in North Carolina when, in 2010, she was elected supervisor of the Wake Soil and Water Conservation Board. She grew up in Johnston County on her grandparents’ farm, where they raised corn, soybeans, tobacco, cattle, cotton and hogs. A graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Math and a magna cum laude graduate of N.C. State University, Wadsworth’s interest and concern for the state’s agriculture industry has continued throughout her life.

Smith taught vocational agriculture after graduating from N.C. State University with a degree in agricultural engineering. He worked for 32 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has served as the mayor of his hometown of Boonville. In 2016, he ran unopposed as the Democratic candidate for commissioner but was defeated in the general election by Republican Steve Troxler.

Watson is a lifelong resident of Durham County, a business owner and farmer. He is now the manager of his family’s produce market, which he has modernized and updated to meet the needs of current consumer preferences. He said he is running for commissioner of agriculture so that proactive plans can be made to meet the ag industry’s changing needs.