Ala. Agriculture Commissioner Sparks to run for governor

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks kicked off a Democratic campaign for governor today in Montgomery.

Sparks joins U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Birmingham as the announced candidates for the Democratic primary in June 2010. State Sen. Roger Bedford of Russellville says he's considering the race. Democratic Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. has announced he won't run for governor.

The 56-year-old agriculture commissioner says if elected governor, he would emphasize economic development in rural areas, particularly the development of alternative fuels.

Sparks also called for more state economic incentives for existing Alabama businesses that add jobs and making sure all school children have equal educational opportunities regardless of where they live.

After Sparks' announcement, Davis issued a statement saying Sparks will be formidable candidate, but he questioned whether candidates who are part of the entrenched status quo in Montgomery can fix the problems in Montgomery.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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