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Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue picked as Trump’s agriculture chief
Perdue advised Trump on agricultural issues during presidential campaign
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a veterinarian by training who grew up on a family farm, has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be the nation’s next agriculture secretary.
The selection of Perdue, announced a day before Trump’s inauguration on January 19, rounds out the new president’s cabinet.
“From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, (Perdue) has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face,” Trump said in a statement announcing Perdue’s selection. “He is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”
In the same statement, Perdue said “making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart.”
“I’m going to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role,” he said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Purdue will oversee the sprawling U.S. Department of Agriculture, with more than 100,000 employees and a $140 billion budget. In addition to farm programs, the department also oversees food safety, national forests and the food stamp program that provides nutritional assistance to more than 40 million low-income Americans.
Perdue’s selection will present an unusual wrinkle in the Senate confirmation process, as one of the senators who will consider his nomination, U.S. Senator David Perdue, is Sonny Perdue’s first cousin.
Perdue, 70, served two terms as Georgia governor. His election in 2002 marked the first time a Republican had won the state’s chief executive post since Reconstruction, ending 130 years of Democratic dominance.
Perdue grew up on a farm in Houston County in central Georgia. During the presidential campaign, he had been a member of Trump’s agricultural advisory council.