I don’t normally go around endorsing political candidates.  And if you are wondering what the heck I am writing about a musician, author, serial entrepreneur, and the de-facto “Governor of the Heart of Texas,” in the Startup Section of The Times of Israel, please read on.

Kinky Friedman is running for Agriculture Commissioner for the State of Texas.  He’s very clear about what he stands for in his political site and he’s in a runoff, which takes place on May 27.

He’s running against a first time politician and rancher, Jim Hogan. If Kinky wins, he’ll go into the general election in November against the Republican candidates, Sid Miller or Tommy Merritt who are also in a runoff.

Kinky For Agriculture Commissioner?  Seriously?  Yes, Very Seriously.

When you strip away Kinky’s quirkiness, views on the legalization of marijuana, or for that matter gay marriage, Kinky’s DNA is rooted in public service beginning with his early work in the Peace Corps.

Being inspired by President John F. Kennedy, Friedman was stationed in Borneo for three years, where he was an agricultural extension worker.  He’s gone on to manage his family’s ranch and camping enterprise, traveled the world sharing his music, and building a global, Texas-focused brand.

As the second largest agriculture economy in the U.S. after California, we have a very unique opportunity to advance our alliances with Texas and Israel for innovation in water, agriculture and yes, security – areas where both the Lone Star State and Start Up Nation lead.

In late October of last year, I attended the WATEC Water Technology Conference in Tel Aviv where Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered this inspiring keynote.  With the departure of Governor Perry, there will be no agriculture-focused, political leader in Texas who gets, has the political will, and the vision to sustain our agriculture and water-related technology and innovation industries with Israel the way Kinky Friedman does.

If you watch Kinky’s recent appearance on TalkNowSA, you can listen to his references to Israel and what we can learn from each other in areas that go beyond water and agriculture.

From Nazareth, Israel to Palestine, Texas – Let’s Give Peace A Chance.

Upon visiting Kinky at his ranch near Medina, Texas, last week, he expressed his interest helping to promote awareness of the soon to be built Texas A&M Peace Campus in Nazareth. “I may be a Longhorn (Friedman is a graduate of the University of Texas, whose mascot is the longhorn), but that won’t keep me from supporting the Aggies (the mascot of Texas A&M) in the real Nazareth,” said Kinky.

As Agriculture Commissioner, Friedman wants to create a summit that will bring together Israelis and Palestinians for a series of peace talks to address the water crisis that exists between both countries and to help advance some type of resolution in the other Palestine – Palestine, Texas.  “If we can get these folks away from there, and bring them to Texas, maybe we can figure out a way to re-think what’s largely failed under traditional geo-political approaches.”

The next Governor of Texas will likely be Greg Abbott, who, like most politicians, is public in his support of Israel.  Even while Abbott’s Stand With Israel shows his commitment to Israel, it’s still rooted in politics.   My belief is that Kinky no longer has a desire to move up the food chain to the Governor’s mansion, even though he’s run for Governor before.

The Best Brand Ambassador, And Agriculture  Commissioner Money Can Buy:)

Kinky gets business, being an entrepreneur, and not only loves Texas and Israel, and could be both Agriculture Commissioner and Texas’ best Global Brand Ambassador.

Like the entrepreneurs from Start Up Nation, he’s been perpetual, multi-disciplined, successful businessperson, and community builder for fifty plus years.

He has a massive global reach, an established online presence on Facebook and Twitter, and whether you agree with some of his political ideologies, he’d certainly be a breath of fresh air to the agriculture and water innovation ecosystems of the world.

Lyrics As Policy.

As Agriculture Commissioner of the State of Texas, I believe that it’s Kinky Friedman’s gift as a storyteller, that will set the tone for advancing Texas and collaborating with Israel’s agriculture, water and even its cyber-security economy.    If he can write lyrics that resonate and touch people around the world, surely he can scribe progressive and business-minded policy that will help us advance our thinking about water and agriculture for the next generation.   And if The Kinkster can get people from all walks of life to join in and share in his music, maybe he could also bring Israelis and Palestinians to rethink what’s possible.

Kinky Friedman has chutzbah, and is willing to stand up for advancing humanity. His proven success in innovating with his own business and brand could help elevate Texas and Israel’s unique partnership in agriculture and water, for generations to come.

 

 

 

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