Former Rep. Baxter Troutman recently joined the other two contenders for Agriculture Commissioner, Senator Denise Grimsley and Representative Matt Caldwell, at the Wedgworth Leadership Institute candidate forum. The organization is a group of leaders focused on the future of Florida agriculture and hosted what was the first candidate event featuring all three serious candidates for the cabinet post.
The event marked the first public appearance for Troutman alongside Grimsley and Caldwell. His entrance as a candidate in mid-June was punctuated by his immediate move to the front of the pack with a whopping $2.5 million contribution from himself to his campaign.
Troutman whose fundraising operation is just getting started under Finance Director Kevin Hoffman, a respected and experienced statewide fundraiser, and is expected to continue keeping the finance edge given the candidate’s lifelong work in agriculture. Baxter is a grandson of Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. giving him a third generation legacy in Florida’s dominant agriculture industry.
Having served in the legislature from 2002 to 2010, Troutman built a strong, conservative pro-business record as a Republican State Representative. But his real success has been as founder and CEO of a personnel service company, Labor Solutions, based in Winter Haven. The business recently reported having its 20th anniversary and also the acquisition of another company. This growth of the business certainly seems to be providing the economic resources to run a strong campaign.
In just a few weeks, it will be exactly one year from the primary for all our statewide officials. With well-known incumbent politicians and, now, a successful businessman in the race we look forward to reporting on a lively race for Agriculture Commissioner.
In late July, Rep. Matt Caldwell sat down with the Shark Tank to discuss his “dirty jobs” candidacy for AG Commissioner. The Tank expects Grimsley and Troutman will also be jumping in for a swim in the coming weeks.