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Former PCA Manager Running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner

Kenneth Kendrick, whose warnings went unheeded about the potential for contamination at peanut processing plants in Plainview, TX, and Portales, NM, has filed papers to become the Texas Green Party candidate for Agriculture Commissioner for the Lone Star State.

Kendrick once worked for the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America, which ran a peanut processing plant at Plainview, and, on occasion, purchased peanuts from Sunland, about 100 miles west in Portales.

PCA went bankrupt after the 2008-2009 nationwide Salmonella outbreak killed nine people and sickened about 700. Four of its top executives are scheduled to go to trial early next year on a total of 76 federal felony counts related to the outbreak.

Sunland filed for bankruptcy more recently following a separate 2012 outbreak traced back to peanut butters it made. Some say it’s possible that, if Kendrick’s information had been more thoroughly investigated, both outbreaks might have been avoided.

Kendrick is now taking what he has to say directly to Texas voters. He’s been on the public speaking circuit talking about corporate whistleblowing. And, along the rough Texas-New Mexico border, he might find Valencia peanut growers who used to be able to go back and forth to the two plants willing to listen as they now have no market.

The Texas Green Party, which is currently recruiting candidates for statewide offices, has earned ballot placement by winning ever-larger voting percentages. It won 2014 ballot placement with the showings of two of its 2012 candidates: Josh Wendel, who ran for Railroad Commissioner, and Charles Waterbury, who stood for Supreme Court justice. Wendel got 484,826 votes, or 7.90 percent, and Waterbury got 491,571 votes, or 8.04 percent.

Kendrick is a resident of Wilson, TX. The filing deadline is Dec. 9.

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