Ryan Quarles

Ryan Quarles
Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky
Assumed office
January 4, 2016
Governor Matt Bevin
Preceded by James Comer
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
from the 62nd district
In office
January 2, 2011  January 4, 2016
Preceded by Charlie Hoffman
Succeeded by Chuck Tackett
Personal details
Born (1983-10-20) October 20, 1983
Georgetown, Kentucky
Political party Republican
Residence Georgetown, Kentucky
Alma mater University of Kentucky, Harvard
Occupation Attorney, Farmer, Politician
Religion Christian

Ryan Francis Quarles (born October 20, 1983) is an American politician and a member of the Republican from the Commonwealth of Kentucky who has served as Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky since 2016. He previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 2011 to 2016. From 2005–2008, he served two consecutive terms on the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as the Council's student member and various other leadership positions in Washington D.C. and Kentucky.

On November 3, 2015, Quarles was elected Agriculture Commissioner, defeating his Democratic opponent Jean-Marie Lawson Spann.

Early life and education

Quarles is a native of Georgetown, Kentucky, where he graduated valedictorian and class president from Scott County High School in 2002. While working on the Quarles family farm, he went on to complete a triple major undergraduate and two master's degrees from the nearby University of Kentucky in under 4 years. Quarles triple major was in Agriculture Economics, Public Service & Leadership, and Political Science and graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors in 2005. While enrolled in school, Quarles took as many as 27 credit hours per semester and was on the Dean's List in each term.[1] Throughout his academic career, Quarles has received numerous national academic awards including the Truman Scholarship, Zuckerman Fellowship, as well as scholarships from the Future Farmers of America and Toyota Corporation. Quarles went on to earn four graduate degrees. As one of 25 Zuckerman Fellows nationally, Quarles was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Harvard University where he completed a Master of Education in 2009.[2] Quarles also holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations from the Patterson School of Diplomacy, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.[3] Quarles has participated in study abroad and exchange programs to China, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, and Japan.

Political career

In Kentucky, Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher appointed Quarles to two consecutive terms as a Council Member on the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Ryan was also appointed an ambassador for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Other experience includes working on the campaign of Governor Fletcher and as an intern for Republican Senator Damon Thayer in the Kentucky Senate. As an undergraduate student, Ryan was Chairman of the College Republicans at the University of Kentucky and that organization's State Political Director in 2004.

In Washington, D.C., Quarles served as the Agricultural and Interior Intern for Senator Mitch McConnell. Quarles also served as an International Trade Analyst for the United States Foreign Agricultural Service.

2010 election

In October 2009, Quarles announced that he would run for the Kentucky House of Representatives for the 62nd House District. At the time the District was represented by State Representative Charlie Hoffman (D-Scott).

In May 2010, Quarles won a contested Republican primary election with 60% of the vote to be the Republican candidate from the 62nd Representative District in the Kentucky House of Representatives race.[4]

On October 2, 2010, Quarles was arrested in Lexington, Kentucky for reckless driving. "A police report said Ryan Quarles, 26, was arrested near North Mill and West Short streets in Lexington about 3:10 a.m. Saturday. Quarles was driving a black Jeep Cherokee through a parking lot, weaving through cars, the uniform citation said. The report said Quarles showed signs of intoxication and had a blood alcohol level of 0.067 when given a breath test. His blood alcohol level was below the legal limit of 0.08."[5] Quarles pleaded guilty and paid a fine after the charge was lowered to careless driving.[6]

In November 2010, Quarles received 8,508 votes (51%) to Charlie Hoffman's 8,287 (49%). In 2011, Quarles was appointed to the Kentucky House of Representatives committees on Agriculture & Small Business, Banking & Insurance, and Education.[7]

2012 election

Ryan Quarles ran for a second term to the Kentucky State House of Representatives in the 2012 election. In this race, Quarles faced a familiar opponent - former State Representative Charlie Hoffman whom he had defeated two years earlier - who filed to get his old seat back in a rematch as the Democratic nominee. Quarles easily defeated Hoffman in this contest, winning 54% to 46%.

2014 election

Ryan Quarles ran for his third term of office in the Kentucky State House of Representatives in the 2014 election. In this election, Quarles was running in a district redrawn by the Democratic-controlled House of Representative and drawn to be more Democratic, drawing in significant territory which had previously not been part of the district. He was made a top target of the Democrats for defeat of a Republican incumbent and his opponent, Charles Tackett, was a Scott County Magistrate who ran at the request of Democratic Governor Steve Beshear. The redrawn district and effort by the Democrats did not pan out as Quarles won by his largest margin of victory, 59% to 41%, over his opponent.

2015 election

Ryan Quarles announced he would be a candidate for Kentucky Commission of Agriculture, a statewide race, in the 2015 election. He won the Republican nomination against fellow State Representative Richard Heath. Quarles had been endorsed by the incumbent Commissioner of Agriculture, James Comer,[8] and won the general election against Jean-Marie Lawson Spann.

Electoral history

Kentucky House of Representatives 62nd District Republican Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ryan Quarles 2,081 59.99
Republican Ricky Hostetler 1,388 40.01
Kentucky House of Representatives 62nd District Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ryan Quarles 8,508 50.66
Democratic Charlie Hoffman 8,287 49.34
Kentucky House of Representatives 62nd District Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ryan Quarles (inc.) 12,408 54.03
Democratic Charlie Hoffman 10,557 45.97
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Republican Primary Election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ryan Quarles 92,700 50.39
Republican Richard Heath 91,271 49.61
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ryan Quarles 563,013 60.08
Democratic Jean-Marie Lawson Spann 374,077 39.92


  1. "Student Named Truman Scholar". Uky.edu. 2005-03-29. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20110719031626/http://news.uky.edu/news/display_article.php?artid=3682. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Steve Beshear. "Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education - Ryan Quarles Bio". Cpe.ky.gov. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  4. "Kentucky State Board of Elections : 2010 Primary Election". Results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  5. Hopkins, Shawntaye (2010-10-05). "Georgetown candidate for state House arrested for reckless driving | Lexington Herald-Leader". Kentucky.com. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  6. Hopkins, Shawntaye (2010-10-16). "Candidate to pay fine in careless driving case | Lexington Herald-Leader". Kentucky.com. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  7. "House District 62". Lrc.ky.gov. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  8. ""Announcement" - Ryan Quarles". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
Political offices
Preceded by
James Comer
Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky
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