About Kent Leonhardt

I am a lifetime farmer. My wife and I restored a farm that was abandoned for over 40 years and made it once again a viable functioning farm. Our farm is located in the western end of Monongalia County near Fairview, West Virginia. We purchased our first 205 acres of West Virginia farmland in 1982, while I was still on military active duty. We began developing and cultivating the farm in 1997, following my retirement from the Marine Corps. Today, we have 380 contiguous acres and two farm leases for hay production and additional grazing. We raise sheep, cattle and goats and sell hay when there is a surplus available.

I am a Marine. I served for 20 years and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, I coordinated operations between all four branches of our military, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. During that time I served on Joint Staffs leading men and women in war and peace. I received personal decorations during my service including: Legion of Merit, Combat Action Ribbon, 8 other personal decorations. All this has prepared me to be the leader that will be needed to decisively transform our Agriculture Department.

As well as serving in the Marines for 20 years, I was elected in 2014 to the West Virginia State Senate serving the people of the 2nd Senatorial District. The 2nd Senatorial District is one of the largest and most rural in West Virginia containing parts of or all of the following counties: Marshall, Wetzel, Gilmer, Marion, Monongalia, Tyler, Doddridge, Calhoun, and Ritchie. As a State Senator, I have fought to create a business friendly environment to foster economic growth. I will bring that same policy to the West Virginia Agriculture Department to help Agribusinesses across the state.

Lastly, I received a formal education in the Science of Agriculture, earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri. In addition, I took a variety of courses covering issues pertinent to the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection. My undergraduate education had a concentration on both wildlife and agriculture and included courses in the following disciplines: Livestock and Meat Science, Soil Sciences, Plant Taxonomy, Entomology, Ichthyology or fisheries, Agricultural Economics, Biology and Chemistry.

My real life experience as a successful West Virginia farmer and small businessman, a Marine, and a State Senator in addition to my degree in Wildlife Management and post graduate Master’s Degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University have prepared me to serve my fellow farmers and citizens as your next Agriculture Commissioner.

My leadership positions, joint service experiences, and serving currently as a State Senator have prepared me to work with WV state government and individual farmers as a West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner; I have the ability to form cooperative partnerships with government bodies, private organizations and citizens.

As a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, I coordinated operations between all four branches of our military, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. I entered the U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course, while in college, in 1974. I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant following my college graduation, in 1976. I served for 20 years and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. I received personal decorations during my service including: Legion of Merit, Combat Action Ribbon, 8 other personal decorations. I am ready to serve you again, as the next West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner.

Military Schools:

  • The Basic School – Initial 6 months of USMC Officer training.
  • Communications Officer School
  • Defense Language Institute – Arabic
  • Defense Intelligence College
  • USMC Command and Staff College
  • Fellowship Year with the Director of the National Security Agency

Career Highlights:

  • Platoon and Company Commands
  • Led 68 man special intelligence team in Desert Storm/Desert Shield
  • Battalion Executive Officer (number 2 in unit of 450 Marines)
  • Various Intelligence Analyst, Watch Officer, Intelligence Collections Officer positions.
  • USMC Liaison Officer to the National Security Agency
  • Special Intelligence Collection Manager U. S. Central Command.

Shirley, Kent’s wife, also volunteers her time to make West Virginia a better place to live. Shirley is currently:

  • Past President of West Virginia Agri-women
  • Friends of West Virginia University Hospitals Auxiliary Board, Gift Shop Chair
  • Auxiliary of West Virginia Hospitals Association
  • Volunteer at Friends Gift Shop, Ruby Memorial Hospital