TAMPA, FL – Rep. Larry Combest, who has given freely of his time, and through uncommon leadership, has provided invaluable assistance to the U.S. cotton industry, was honored as the recipient of the 2003 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award for Cotton.
The award, named for the late California industry leader and National Cotton Council (NCC) President Harry S. Baker, is presented annually to a deserving individual who has provided extraordinary service, leadership and dedication to the U.S. cotton industry. Combest received the award today at the NCC's annual meeting in Tampa, FL.
In presenting the award, outgoing NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood said Congressman Combest has taken the title, "Representative," to heart in seeing after the needs of his 400 mile-long 19th Congressional district in Texas. Throughout his tenure, including the House Agriculture Committee chairmanship, "he applied his agriculture background to his job and took a proactive approach to shaping sound policies," Hood noted.
Rep. Combest, who announced his intent to retire from Congress effective May 31, served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee from 1999-2002. Hood said the Congressman provided critical leadership in forging a balanced, bi-partisan House farm bill, which reflected production agriculture’s priorities, and directed the bill’s passage through the House and Conference, all the while defending the bill against a number of damaging amendments. He also served as chairman of the House-Senate Conference Committee, which put the final legislation together.
"Without question, his effective leadership combined with his devotion and determination are the reasons we have an outstanding farm bill," Hood said.
As a senior member of the House Small Business Committee, Mr. Combest also has focused on regulatory reform. Each year, the National Federation of Independent Business recognized him as a Guardian of Small Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently honored him with their prestigious "Spirit of Enterprise" award.
The Congressman also is a recipient of the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturists Award for Public Service, the Lubbock Area Foundation’s "Hero of the Year" Award and the "Legislator of the Year" award for the National Association of Farm Service Agency Employees.
Born in Memphis, TX, and a fourth generation West Texas farmer, educator and small business owner, Rep. Combest holds a bachelor of Business Administration degree from West Texas State University, an honorary Doctorate of Strategic Intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College and an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Lubbock Christian University.
Previous honorees of the Harry S. Baker Award include Duke Barr, Bob Coker, Earl Sears, Albert Russell, B. F. Smith, Charlie Cunningham, Charlie Youngker, Lon Mann, Lloyd Cline, William B. Dunavant, Jr., Frank Mitchener, Duke Kimbrell, Jack Stone, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jimmy Sanford and last year’s recipient, Bill Lawson.