Former agriculture agent hopes politics is fertile ground

February 03, 2004|HERB BROCK

David C. Sparrow of Danville is plowing a new career field - one in which he hopes to harvest a lot of votes.

Sparrow, who has spent his life involved in agriculture, including his current post as a top administrator with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and a stint of more than two decades as 4-H agent and agricultural extension agent for Boyle County, is making his first race for public office. He has filed as a Democrat to run for the 54th District House seat now occupied by Mike Harmon, R-Junction City.

Since there are no other candidates in the race, there will be no primary; the two men will face off in the November general election. A term in the House is two years.

The 54th District is comprised of Boyle and Washington counties. Harmon is in his first term as representative of the two counties. He replaced two-term Democrat John W.D. Bowling, who left the legislature to run successfully for Danville mayor. Bowling had taken over from longtime lawmaker, Joe Clarke, who held the 54th District seat for nearly three decades until his retirement.


Sparrow, 59, said he is running not so much against Harmon as he is for the "opportunity to put a life of experiences and skills in agriculture and agricultural education and many other pursuits and activities to use for the citizens of the 54th District."

Sparrow has served for the last nearly nine years as assistant to the dean of the UK College of Agriculture. He said he plans to retire this summer.

Prior to his position in the dean's office, he served for 24 years as Boyle County's 4-H agent and agricultural agent. In addition, he has held numerous top leadership positions in community organizations, including the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, Community Development Council, Heart of Kentucky United Way, Heart of Danville, the community's beautification program, Boyle County Cattleman's Association and the Perryville Battlefield Commission.

Statewide, Sparrow serves the Kentucky Cattleman's Association as its annual meeting chairman. He also is superintendent of the North American International Livestock Exposition Dairy Show and co-superintendent of Kentucky State Fair Dairy Show. Sparrow is on the Kentucky Cattleman's Foundation Board. In addition, he is active with other commodity groups - pork, poultry, horticulture, forage and grains.

"My entire career has been working with youth, community, agriculture and rural development issues," Sparrow said, "and I will use all my life skills to represent the working families of Boyle and Washington counties."

Sparrow said he knows and understands rural economic issues. "I understand that we are at a crossroads in the commonwealth when we talk about the future of our agricultural economy and our children's education - elementary, secondary and post secondary," he said. "The only way we can move our rural communities forward is to continue improving our educational efforts in teaching and through research."

Sparrow said he would also work to "attract quality jobs, provide better more affordable health care coverage and to make sure that our seniors in nursing homes are protected."

Concerning the state's revenue shortage, he said finding a solution will be difficult but he said it can be done with bipartisan cooperation.

"The situation is one that will take both sides of the aisle - Democrat and Republican - working together," he said. "It isn't a one-party problem, and it can't be resolved with a one-party solution."

A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Sparrow worked in industry and retail before beginning his extensive agricultural career. Despite his many pursuits, Sparrow said his proudest accomplishments have been those forged with family. He grew up on a small, diversified farm - tobacco and livestock - near Gravel Switch in Marion County.

"Family is important to me," he said.

Sparrow is active in church activities, having served as a deacon, church moderator and high school Sunday school teacher for 34 years. Sparrow and his wife, Linda, a Realtor, have been married for 37 years. The couple have two daughters, Tabatha Sparrow Casey and her husband, Mike, who live in Minneapolis, Minn., with their son, Christopher, and daughter, Lauren; and Cassinda Sparrow Bechanan and her husband, Doug, who live in Carlisle with their son, Logan and daughter, Fielden.

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