Interview with Wayne Carter – Commissioner of Agriculture Candidate

July 27, 2007

Wayne Carter, candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture candidate, spoke to the Pachyderms of Greater Baton Rouge tonight. Afterwards, I caught up with him for a quick interview.

Louisiana Conservative: “Wayne, why did you decide to run for Commissioner of Agriculture?”
Wayne Carter: “Well I just want to make a difference in government. I think people are looking for change. Ethics in government is important right now. New image, new leadership, I just want to make a difference in our state.”
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LC: “What makes you qualified to run for Commissioner of Agriculture?”
WC: “I have a good background in the rural community, I grew up on a farm. I know about logging, ranching, farming, I have 28 years of solid business experience, and I’ll bring all that to that office.”

LC: “Tell me a little bit about how you grew up, your background.”
WC: “I grew up in rural North Louisiana in a place called Georgetown. Big family, fourteen children, lived the logging business. (background noise)…Brothers, of seven in our large family went to Vietnam. Four spent Christmas there in 1970. Just a good solid upbringing, good parents. Earned a living in the rodeo business when I was seventeen. I started riding bulls as a way to pay for college, and learned good work ethics that made me physically and mentally tough. I went on to graduate college and moved to East Baton Rouge Parish in 1974. In 1980, I started my own company and 28 years later, I’m still in business.”

LC: “Wayne, you’re a straight forward guy, but you’re also a nice guy and I know you’re not going to say anything like, like what I’m about to say. A while back, Bob Odom, he runs the state with an iron fist. He had a 70 year old man arrested for sharing hogs… for cutting up his neighbors hog for them. Could we expect the same kind of thing from you? What would you do differently?”
“That’s not my job, I’ll leave that to law enforcement.”

LC: “What would you do differently? How do you see the role of the Commissioner of Agriculture?”
“Well the role of that department needs to be something that we are basing our campaigning on. It’s just ethics, which we brought Dan Kyle in to help us with our campaign. He’s looked at that department twice, he’s done an audit and he knows what’s there. That department needs to be run a lot more efficiently than what it is. It’s kind of taken a downward spiral the last few years. Thirdly, we want to create jobs with our economic development plan. We want to put added value back on the things that we grow, harvest and produce in this state.”

LC: “Ethanol is really a big issue, I know we have a lot of farmers that are for it, but the consumers aren’t so much for it because it’s going to drive up our cost. How do you find a balance to that?
“Well, it’s really to early to tell. Right now we have a market out there for ethanol. We know that corn is about $4 a bushel right now, that’s affordable for feeder lots. Ethanol plants seem to like the price of it. I don’t think we’ll see a balance until we see what the demand is going to be for ethanol, especially in this state.”

LC: “What is your biggest concern about ethanol?
WC: “Well my concern is, we just have to be careful not to let the greed for ethanol run up the prices at the ethanol plants and then put a burden on end users of corn which are the feeder lots and beef, poultry, and pork, and we just need to keep a happy medium there. I think the prices of corn can also be adjusted on the import side. This is a pretty new deal, and right now we are planning 9 1/2 million more acres nationwide for the demand for it. But it’s too early to tell if the actual product is going to get consumed. We haven’t even harvested corn so, we don’t even know yet.”

LC: “How do you feel about hunting in Louisiana? Hunting and guns?”
WC: “I grew up hunting as a child. My wife and two daughters grew up hunting, enjoying the outdoors. Hunting is a big avenue in this state. It’s the sportsmen’s paradise. It’s good added revenue to this state for a number of reasons. RV’s, and ATV’s, the list goes on. I’m a big promoter of guns, I strongly support the second amendment, and I’ve been a lifetime member of the NRA.”

LC: “Finally, are you tough enough to be the Commissioner of Agriculture?”
WC: “The Commissioner of Agriculture now was a calf roper, I was a bull rider.”

LC: (Laughs) “Mr. Carter, thank you so much for everything and good luck in your race.”
WC: “Thank you.”

Thunderbird rookie doesn’t lose consciousness, or toss his cookies

Post-Tribune (IN) July 11, 2008 | JERRY DAVICH THIS ELECTRONIC VERSION MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM PRINTED VERSION Maj. Tony “Split” Mulhare (right) briefs Post-Tribune columnist Jerry Davich prior to their flight. This is the first season for Mulhare, 34, who acts as the narrator for the performance.(PHOTO) (PHOTOS BY SCOTT BORT/POST-TRIBUNE) Crew members work outside the No. 5 plane at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.(PHOTO) Maj. Tony “Split” Mulhare sounded like Darth Vader when he told me through his oxygen mask to unlock my rocket-boosted ACES II ejection seat by pulling down a black and yellow lever near my left knee. Now that it’s “live,” if Mulhare gives the in-air order “Bailout! Bailout! Bailout!” I can pull hard on another lever between my knees and get propelled 300 feet in 4.8 seconds, followed by his ejection from our F-16 fighter jet.

Just before takeoff, I lifted the sun visor on my helmet and winked at the tiny camera in the cramped cockpit. I figured it would be my last nonchalant gesture before focusing on how to avoid blacking out or, worse yet, vomiting into my oxygen mask and making a mess of my “once in a lifetime” experience.

Minutes later we took off from the Gary Jet Center, first horizontally like other aircraft and then vertically like a rocket ship. Seconds later, on a picture-perfect Wednesday afternoon, we punctured the wild blue yonder. If we took off at night, you could see a blue-flame tail extending 25 feet behind the jet, burning at roughly 920 degrees.

Mulhare, Thunderbird No. 8 of the famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, sat in front of me under the jet’s clear canopy, adorned with my name for this flight. To my left was the same engine throttle Mulhare used. To my right, the same ultra-sensitive side-stick controller to maneuver the jet. I kept telling myself, “Do NOT touch.” In the cockpit I was allowed no notepad, no tape recorder, and no wedding ring. I felt naked under my self-inflating G-suit, designed to exert force on the abdomen and legs to prevent blackouts. It does this by counteracting the tendency of blood to accumulate below the heart, reducing the supply to my brain. see here force factor reviews

The F-16, this one built in 1986, is the first fighter aircraft deliberately built to sustain 9-G turns. I’ll find out soon enough.

The G-force factor The G-force is a result of the rapid acceleration of gravity against the body. For example, a 12-pound object undergoing a G-force of 2 experiences 24 pounds of force.

In my situation flying in this F-16, if we pull a sharp left turn and accelerate past 500 mph – reaching 9 G’s in less than 10 seconds – my body (weighing 195 pounds) would experience nearly 1,800 pounds of force against it.

The average person can absorb up to 3 or 4 G’s, and the G-suit I’m wearing can absorb an additional 2 G’s. In addition to that, I can buy an extra 1 or 2 G’s by immediately tightening my calf, thigh and butt muscles while holding my breath in three-second, rapid-fire intervals.

I was taught this earlier by the squadron’s flight surgeon, Maj. Charla “Doc” Quayle, Thunderbird No. 9.

But my pilot, Mulhare, said we would be hitting 9 G’s on this flight. So how do I buy what’s needed to sustain those extra couple of high G’s to avoid blacking out? Well, that’s a roll of the dice.

Thunderbirds spokesman Staff Sgt. Russ Martin told me that petite women may do OK at such high G’s while beefy macho guys black out immediately, their heavier weight working against them.

Even though the F-16’s seat-back angle improves the pilot’s tolerance of high G forces, even Mulhare once experienced gravity-induced loss of consciousness, or G-LOC, during a training flight, temporarily losing his vision. Why? Because he spoke out loud while hitting 9 G’s. He hasn’t made that mistake again. And neither will I, I tell myself as we soar at 400 mph toward Grissom Air Force Base, near Logansport, a two-hour, 100-mile drive from Northwest Indiana.

A kid on cloud nine In seconds, we climbed to 15,000 feet, “a comfortable and tactical bomb-dropping altitude,” Mulhare said. Minutes later, literally, we arrived near the air base, where we would paint the sky with smoke through a dozen rolls, spins, and loops.

Mulhare, a 34-year-old father of three and one of 12 officers on the squadron, is like a kid on cloud nine.

“Wow, what a beautiful day,” he told me, opening up a map on his lap as if we’re driving there in a minivan.

In his first season with the demonstration squadron, Mulhare serves as its narrator, flying to each air show in advance to scout its logistics. But you can tell his real passion is military based, with 75 combat hours during the Iraq War on his resume.

He talks like a fighter pilot, peppering his polished Thunderbirds patter with such phrases as “air-to-air dogfight,” “friendlies on the ground” and “enemy insurgents.” And deep down I’ll bet he wishes his F-16 is equipped with high-tech search-and-destroy, heat-seeking weaponry, to “reach out and touch someone,” as he puts it. go to web site force factor reviews

With visibility on this day 100 miles in every direction, I told him, “You must get bored having to drive in a car.” He cheerfully replied, “I have the best job in the world.” Then, he asked, are you ready to pull some higher G’s? Sure, I say, and off we go.

‘We did 9.2 G’s!’ I instinctively grabbed the two “towel rack” bars on either side of me, although I was strapped in so tightly that I wasn’t going anywhere unless I yanked that ejection lever.

Mulhare explained to me which type of roll, spin and loop we did before we did it, each time asking if I was OK afterward. We turned on our side, we pulled sharply to the left and the right, and we even flew upside down for a while, my helmet tapping against the canopy. It felt like a rollercoaster times 100, with a breathtaking 360-degree view.

I began feeling a little queasy, struggling to get my bearings, while silently practicing my new mantra: “Don’t throw up, don’t throw up, don’t throw up.” I immediately flashed back to my three-hour, pre-flight, crash-course training before takeoff. During my physical with the flight surgeon, she told me nausea is caused by the brain, not the stomach.

“If you feel confused, your brain signals to your stomach to develop nausea,” she told me. Her advice: Focus my eyes on the horizon, so I did.

After I found my bearings, Mulhare asked if I was ready to pull 9 G’s. I wearily said yes. What else would I say, no?

He counted down and, on his cue, I should do exactly what I was earlier trained to do — tighten all my lower muscles and hold my breath between my chest and head, in three-second intervals.

The jet pulled incredibly hard and fast to the left, at 16 degrees per second. My view of the world began to shrink, like an old TV set when it’s turned off and the screen slowly fades to black. A few seconds later, Mulhare eased up on the G’s and my picture returned to full screen. What do you know, I didn’t black out.

“We did 9.2 G’s,” he told me excitedly.

I don’t think I answered him at first.

“Jerry, are you still OK?” “Uh, I think so,” I replied.

Two baseballs take flight Mulhare was kind enough to slow down to a cruising level to simulate a military air-support maneuver. We pretended we were over central Iraq, not central Indiana, and a group of “friendlies” needed air support.

He zeroed in on a small Hoosier town, then a rural intersection and a small building where the friendlies were trapped and needed his support. We circled around it, trying to determine where any insurgents may be hiding, and then turned the nose of the jet toward those suspected sites to engage with mock firepower.

This allowed him to keep his skills sharp, and allowed me to reintroduce my brain to my stomach.

Mulhare then asked if I wanted to see the Chicago skyline up close. Of course I said yes. Again, it took only a few minutes to get there.

But first, Mulhare remembered that he had two baseballs in his G-suit. He was given the two official Major League baseballs to sort of christen them during our flight while being digitally recorded by the cockpit camera. On Thursday, Thunderbirds pilots used the balls to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cubs-Reds game at Wrigley Field.

Before we land, I asked Mulhare — a top-gun fighter pilot — how he keeps his ego in check. He joked that his wife takes care of that. But he quickly added how humbled he feels when he thinks of all the other fighter pilots serving Uncle Sam in dangerous combat situations.

“I’m here representing all of them,” he said.

That’s what air shows are for, the three R’s: To represent, to recruit, and to retain, which is why they allow journalists like me to sit in the world’s most powerful fighter jet — and try not to embarrass themselves.

If you go What: Air Show preview performance Where: Gary Jet Center, 5401 Industrial Highway (next to Gary/ Chicago International Airport) When: 6 tonight Parking: Available in terminal lot for $5 JERRY DAVICH


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