Could Our Next Secretary of Agriculture Be Former Texas Ag Commissioner Susan Combs?Thu, 22 Dec 2016 05:07:45 CST
The following is an analysis of the search for the next Secretary of Agriculture- written by Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.
We are down to a handful of picks left for the incoming Trump Cabinet- including the USDA Secretary of Agriculture. The early thinking was that this would be a fairly quick pick in the early part of the process- getting a somewhat lower profile Cabinet position done using one of many loyalists to Trump during the campaign.
As Cabinet nominee after nominee was made public- it became apparent that there was some significant infighting going on internally in the Trump Transition team- as some saw the USDA slot as one where diversity could be substituted for the best person for the job.
Enter Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. The first term Democrat was seen as a great "across the aisle" pick by some in the Trump camp- and some say that she was actually offered the job. However, her Democratic friends were going crazy during the process as her joining the Cabinet likely meant a pick up of a Senate seat for the GOP. At the same time- you had many Ag Advisroy Committee members going crazy as well- pointing out her populist leanings over issues like mCOOL and GIPSA- plus grousing about not giving the job to someone who had been supporting Trump during at least some of the campaign.
Likely- that means EXIT Senator Heitkamp.
The names being mentioned this week by other media folks include:
Susan Combs- both Agri-Pulse and Politico are saying that House Ag Committee Chair Mike Conaway is telling the Trump Transition team she is the lady for the job. Word is that the former Texas Ag Commissioner met this week with VEEP Elect Mike Pence, talking about USDA or perhaps another position in the Administration. Click here for the Politico article on Conaway touting Combs. Combs interviewed with Vice President Elect Pence on Tuesday- and we have been told that the interview went well.
Bruce Rastetter of Iowa- also mentioned by Agri-Pulse as going to Trump Tower to meet with the Transition team- he was mentioned early on as a possible candidate- Has made lots of money with hog farms, ethanol and now in real estate.
Charles Herbster- Mentioned in recent days as meeting with the Trump team- he is the Chair of the Trump Ag Advisory Committee- he is the President of Conklin- and if he is not promoting himself- he might be pushing for his friend and former Governor of Nebraska- Dave Heineman.
Sid Miller- featured in a Mother Jones(a liberal opinion website) as one that might still be selected- pointing out that the Texas Ag Commissioner spent fifty bucks and published an Op-Ed beating the drum for Trump this past Friday- saying that Miller was trying to tell the Trump folks to "don't forget about me."
It seems to me- if any of these folks or someone else can get an audience with President Elect Trump and impress him- there's your nominee!
Maybe before Christmas- but maybe not.
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