Kent Leonhardt

Candidate for WV Agricultural Commissioner

Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP 2020 Questionnaire

A. How do you plan to improve access to health care and public health information for minority communities in West Virginia? 

As Commissioner of Agriculture, I have a statewide and national voice pertaining to all issues that affect West Virginians. My office has strived to help increase the quality of life for our communities through increasing the availability of local foods. We have worked to further develop our West Virginia grown program, expanded our “Farmacies” by working with health professionals to improve health with food instead of medicine, increased support for farmers’ markets, and work with local food initiatives for healthier citizens. By supporting local farmers, we can fight back against food deserts that affect so many communities around West Virginia.

B. In what ways should police departments and bystanding police officers be held accountable for their officers’ violent acts and misconduct?

As a retired Lt. Colonel of our United States Marine Corps, I believe all that take an oath to serve should be held accountable for their actions. It is up to local communities to determine the proper recourse for those who abuse their power or violate the code of ethics they are sworn to uphold. I believe we can come together to protect Americans and end unnecessary violence, if we can come together as communities that strive to understand one another instead of pointing out our faults.

C. In what ways have you fought discrimination that targeted people of color either in the workplace or in the community?

For 20 years, I served our country as a leader in the United States Marine Corps. Retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel allowed me to fight alongside men and women of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Regardless of race, sex or birthplace, the United States Marine Corps provided me with a brotherhood that I will never forget. Those relationships and experiences have helped me become the person and public servant I am today.

D. What actions will you take against voter suppression?

Reassurance in our democratic process is vital to this country’s future. As we continue to adapt to the pandemic at hand, it is important to protect the validity of our democratic elections. To that end, we must encourage all voters to use any means to cast their vote for our nation’s leaders. I believe our state has done just that by expanding the voting options available to our citizens.