Zorn hitting the campaign trail hard this month

Published 12:01 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

Glen Zorn’s spending most of his time on the road these days.

“I don’t really know where I’m going until they hand me the schedule,” he said Monday. The Democratic nominee for state Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries was at home in Florala for a Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority presentation. As he visited with those gathered for the photo op, he hailed friends using the walking trail around the lake and stopped to visit with those who happened to drive by. It was obvious: it was good to be home.

“Every day, every minute of my life is scheduled,” he said, adding that he wasn’t complaining.

“We’re going all over the state, touching as many organizations as possible,” he said.

He was headed to northwest Alabama this week, delivering a simple message: He’s the most qualified candidate in the race for Ag Commissioner.

When he was fresh out of college, he gained corporate experience with a major ag company.

“Then I came home and me and my brother borrowed money and went into business with our partner, Milner Perry,” he said.

“We know how to make payroll, and we pay our taxes. My opponent … well, I don’t think that’s so.”

Zorn Brothers, Inc. is one of the few privately owned grain elevators left in the entire State of Alabama.

Zorn goes on to cite experience in crop production, and agribusiness, as well as seven and a half years as the assistant commissioner of agriculture and industries. The commissioner and his department are responsible for food safety, consumer protection, inspection of gas stations, calibration of scales in grocery stores and licensing of pest control companies, among other things.

“I have more of a grasp of what we need to do and how,” Zorn said. “My opponent talks about safe food, but that’s always been a priority for the department.”

Water quality and management is an issue to be addressed by the department, he said.

“I worked with Sen. (Jimmy) Holley to establish the watershed management authority 20 years ago,” he said. “What we’re doing in Southeast Alabama is working and could be a perfect model for the rest of the state.”

In his years at the department, Zorn has worked to create the Center for Alternative Fuels. The work that’s already been done has Alabama prepared for the day that the cellulosic process of producing biofuel from wood, grasses, or non-edible parts of plants is perfected.

“We have to be ready so that we can use our agricultural products to produce fuel,” he said.

Zorn was widowed earlier this year when his wife, Mary Jane, died unexpectedly. The loss still hits him hard, but the campaign keeps him busy. Involving his family has made campaigning more fun.

Recently, the campaign shot a commercial.

“In the commercial, we’re sitting at the table. The camera is on the table, then pans to my grandson for his line.

“So they started filming and then moved to my grandson, who didn’t say anything. The guy told him he’d missed his line.

“Jantzen told him, ‘No sir. You didn’t say ‘action,’” his grandfather chuckled.

As Zorn set out on the campaign trail Monday, he was still in grandfather mode. Reaching into his shirt, he produced Flat Stanley, part of a literacy project for his second grade grandson, Curt. The idea is the Flat Stanley travels and young students write about his travels. In Florala, Zorn and Flat Stanley were photographed with Sen. Holley. Like the commissioner, Flat Stanley has lots of traveling to do in the final four-plus weeks of the campaign, which will end where it began.

“The final day of the campaign, I’ll be back in Florala to vote,” Zorn said.