Ag commissioner candidate Opiela focuses on water, rights

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - In his campaign for agriculture commissioner, Eric Opiela's big issue is water and property rights.

In an Associated Press interview, he says there is no reason why anyone should have to compromise how much they consume if government would only get out of the way.

Opiela is running against vegetable farmer J Allen Carnes and former Stephenville Rep. Sid Miller for the Republican nomination. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is running for lieutenant governor.

A partner in his family's 2,300-acre ranch, Opiela has made his career as an attorney and political activist. The only government regulations Opiela says he supports are those that protect people's "God-given rights," including those to water and property.

But his strategy as a redistricting attorney garnered severe criticism from Democrats who say he discriminated against minorities.

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