Secretary Perdue Lists Trade, Labor and Regulation Reform Among his Top Priorities Moving ForwardTue, 02 May 2017 16:28:24 CDT
In the US Department of Agriculture Whitten Building’s historic Williamsburg Room, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, held a news conference with members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters today in Washington, DC in conjunction with the group’s Washington Watch fly-in, answering questions related to the agricultural policy he began shaping since his confirmation, only six days ago. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays reported on location from the event. You can listen to Hays narrate highlights from today’s news conference, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of this story.
Among the broad spectrum of topics covered during the conference, two pressing issues stand out. The first of which, regarding the type of deputy secretary Perdue hopes to be put in place by President Trump. Specifically being asked, if there should be a Midwesterner appointed to the post to balance his Southern appeal.
“I don’t necessarily need a deputy from the Midwest,” Perdue retorted, denoting his understanding that not all of agriculture in centered in Georgia from which he hails. “But, we’re very serious about geographical, as well as industry type of diversification. I want USDA to look like America.
“We’re diligently searching for different people, deputies and undersecretaries of all those missionaries that will give us a diversification that look like American agriculture.”
Regarding a timeline as to when a deputy secretary will be named, Perdue responded that he wished not to “get ahead of the boss” and that the timeline was at the discretion of the White House.
Beyond filling vacancies, Perdue was also asked about his priorities and which matters will draw the focus of his attentions first, as he settles in to his new post.
The Secretary outlined three main areas in which he has decided, after meeting with more than 75 senators, warrant the bulk of his consideration starting off.
“Number one was trade, number two was trade, number three was trade…,” Perdue joked. “But number four and five were the labor situation and regulation. I think the President and Scott Pruitt have already made a great step forward in the regulation area.
“I think we’ve made great steps with the President and his decision on NAFTA - you need to know, I’m a grow and sell it kind of guy. If these guys and gals can grow it, I’m going to do my best to sell it.”
On the matter of immigration and labor reform, Perdue reassured reporters that the President’s focus in on the criminal element related to illegal immigration, citing comments by the President at the recent farmers’ roundtable hosted by the Secretary and President Trump.
“He understands there are dedicated farm workers out here who are immigrants and he wants to find a way that we can use the productive capacity of those people who are here to serve agriculture.”
Listen to Secretary Perdue’s full remarks to these questions and more, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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