Commissioner of Agriculture
About Kim Olson
"And if anyone asks you this, are Texas women really badass? You just answer,'Hold my purse and watch this!'"
Col. Kim Olson is a retired officer of the U.S. Air Force and a 2014 inductee in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. According to her citation for that honor, “Olson’s 25 years in uniform encompassed a time of great change. She was part of the first generation of female military pilots, eventually accumulating nearly 4,000 hours of flying time—from instructing in supersonic jets to maneuvering a 300,000-pound multiengine aircraft in combat. As one of the first women to command an operational flying squadron, Olson rose to the rank of Colonel, served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Staff and deployed to several combat zones, including Iraq.”
Civilian positions held by Col. Olson following her retirement from the Air Force include Director of Human Resources for the Dallas Independent School District, Director of IT for the Texas State Guard and CEO/President of Grace After Fire, a nonprofit serving women veterans. Col. Olson owns a ranch near Mineral Wells, has a natural-organic certification from the Texas Organic Research Center and is a Texas master gardener.
The Agricultural Commissioner oversees the Texas Department of Agriculture. Far from being an obscure organization concerned with esoteric farm rules, this agency impacts the lives of Texans in many ways. The Agricultural Commission regulates gasoline fuel pumps; weights and measures, such as grocery store scales; and pesticide use; as well certifying organic products. It administers healthy living programs, such as the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.
The Commission impacts the $106 billion agriculture sector of Texas in many ways, including protecting crops from pests, facilitating trade and market development, and administering grant funds for agricultural research. The Commission helps provide infrastructure to rural communities, leads in the development of statewide broadband services, and administers the Certified Retirement Community program to attract retirees to the second leading retirement state in the U.S. This is only a partial list of the functions of this important state agency.
Kim Olson's Republican opponent is incumbent Sid Miller. Miller was elected in 2014 after having served in the Texas House of Representatives from 2001-2013. During his House tenure, Miller founded the Legislative Tea Party Caucus. He is well known for authoring the pro-life legislation that requires a woman to have a sonogram before terminating a pregnancy. As commissioner, he repealed restrictions on the school lunch program so that deep fryers, sodas, and such are once again allowed in schools. He introduced regulations to poison feral hogs due to the dangers posed to other wildlife which could not be implemented due to the danger it posed to other wildlife.