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Zorn running for state ag leader

Glen Zorn came home to Florala Monday to announce he’s going after his boss’s job.

The assistant commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and former Florala mayor said he plans to run for ag commissioner in the 2010 state elections. Current ag commissioner, Ron Sparks, is prohibited by the state constitution from seeking a third term and has announced he is running for governor next year.

“Since I’ve been at the Department of Agriculture and Industries, I’ve learned there is much more to the Department of Agriculture than farming,” Zorn said. “It is really an agency that looks out for the consumer. For example, we check to make sure that scale at the grocery store cash register is calibrated to weigh your meats and vegetables; we inspect gas stations to make sure you are getting your dollar’s worth; we license your pest control companies.”

Zorn said he worked with Sparks to get better labeling of food in Alabama, especially on fish products grown in other countries. He also worked to develop alternative fuels in the state “when no one else was talking about ethanol and biodiesel.”

In addition to his experience working in the department, Zorn talked about the family business he and his brothers operate in Florala.

“Along with our partner, Milner Perry, my brothers and I poured ourselves into building a business here, and Zorn Brothers is still chugging away every day.”

He said the business has created a market for farmers who had nowhere else to sell their crops, and that over the past 35 years, “we’ve paid out more than $200 million to those growers.”

Zorn was surrounded by family members as he made the announcement Monday afternoon, asking the folks back home who twice elected him mayor to vote for him “one more time.”

He said that his family’s business has suffered in droughts in the past, and hailed the success of the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority, a group he has served on for more than 20 years, in developing a water use plan for southeast Alabama.

“As the state struggles to come up with a comprehensive water management plan, I’m proud that we have a plan in southeast Alabama that can serve as a model for the remainder of the state,” he said.

Zorn is a graduate of The University of West Alabama, and is married to the former Mary Jane Jeffcoat of Opp. The couple has two children and two grandchildren. His campaign is headquartered on the Web at www.zorn2010.com.