Other Voices: Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary

President Donald Trump named former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his pick for secretary of agriculture.

As of early February, no date had been set for Perdue's confirmation hearings, though some ag groups say they anticipate a mid- to late February hearing.

Below are excerpts from other media about Perdue and his potential role as ag secretary.

Perdue Earns Support from Predecessor

By Ashley Davenport, AgWeb, Feb. 2

President Donald Trump's pick for secretary of agriculture, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, has gained a fresh endorsement.

Former Sec. Tom Vilsack says he's spoken with Perdue and thinks he will be able to do the job, saying, "Perdue knows full well the opportunities and challenges that exist in rural communities."

Perdue is the only cabinet nominee to secure the support of his predecessor from the Obama administration. Perdue's senate confirmation hearings are expected in mid- to late February.

Trump's pick to head agriculture faces growing list of challenges

By the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board, Jan. 27

If confirmed, Sonny Perdue, the last nominee to President Trump's cabinet, will take on a task that just got monumentally more difficult.

As secretary of agriculture, Perdue will be among those dealing directly with the fallout if Trump follows through on a threat to slap a 20% import tax on goods from Mexico, a top trading partner for the U.S. and, not incidentally, Minnesota.

Trump floated the proposal - which a spokesman later said was being weighed against other options - just days after he pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which this page and many Republicans long favored as a way of lowering trade barriers.

Perdue will face a host of challenges, although the increasingly fragile relationship with a key trading partner for the U.S. and, not incidentally, Minnesota, undoubtedly has just risen to the top.

SonnyWatch: A regional battle is brewing over Perdue's ag chief bid

By Greg Bluestein, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 24

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's fight for his agriculture secretary seat won't just be a partisan battle. It will be a regional one.

The Republican is the first Southerner tapped to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture since the early 1990s, and some politicians from the Midwest are seething.

Consider this guarded reaction from Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican who openly advocated for his state's agriculture commissioner to get the gig:

"Understanding and having an appreciation of the institution of the family farm like we have in Iowa and the Midwest, which is the strength of American agriculture, is important," he said after Perdue's formal nomination.

Some Western politicians are frustrated, too. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who lobbied for ex-Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado to get the post, said Perdue didn't deserve the gig.

"Obviously, the choice wasn't based on substance," Schwarzenegger told Politico through a spokesman, adding: "Because if it was based on substance, Abel would have gotten the job hands down."

Climate change has big implications for farmers. Will Sonny Perdue get that?

By Andee Erickson, The Washington Post, Jan. 20

President Trump has nominated Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia, to be his secretary of agriculture.

It's a wide-ranging position at the head of a vast department, but one immediate question is where Perdue will stand on a number of environmental initiatives launched under the leadership of former secretary Tom Vilsack, who focused attention on the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions from farming and, simultaneously, to prepare the agricultural community itself for a changing climate.

There's no doubting Perdue's extensive agricultural background or ties to the agricultural business community - the former Georgia governor (and former Democrat) grew up on a farm, has a doctorate in veterinary medicine, and ran a fertilizer-and-grain company.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, a leading agricultural group, has strongly endorsed his nomination, with President Zippy Duvall saying Perdue will "provide the strong voice that agriculture needs in the new administration. He is an outstanding nominee."

But some green groups have expressed concerns about the nomination, given Perdue's past comments suggesting he may take a different line than Vilsack did on matters related to climate change.
 
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