President-elect Donald Trump has tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the Department of Agriculture.
“I am proud and honored to be joining President-elect Trump’s administration as his Secretary of Agriculture,” Perdue said in a statement.
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“Beginning as a simple Georgia farm boy, making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart, and 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.”
Perdue, a former Democrat, served two terms as governor, from 2003 through 2011. The 70-year-old was born on a farm and is a former veterinarian.
“From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land,” Trump said in a statement.
Eric Tanenblatt, a former Perdue aide, said Perdue has the qualifications needed to succeed in the Cabinet post.
“As a successful governor, Perdue has the requisite experience to direct a massive bureaucracy of the sort necessary to conduct the Department’s many programs; as a southern governor and state lawmaker, he’s directly shaped agricultural policy and presided over a state with a $74-billion agricultural sector; and as a businessman with deep experience in agribusiness, he knows the challenges facing today’s farmers,” Tanenblatt said in a statement.
Perdue’s qualifications were seconded by former Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.
“He knows rural Georgia and rural America, and he’ll be a really hands-on guy,” Kingston said. “It won’t be his first rodeo.”
Perdue, who is no relation to the Perdue Farms poultry business, had interviewed for the job in late November.
“I’m interested in helping the country,” he told reporters at Trump Tower. “I told president-elect Trump that I would be happy to serve from Georgia, where I am very happily living with my wife and 14 grandchildren, or I’d be happy to serve him if he thought I could be helpful to him here in D.C.”
Perdue must be confirmed by the Senate. He starts with one Senator on his side, his cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.
— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) January 19, 2017
“I could not be more proud of my cousin, Sonny, for being named the next Secretary of Agriculture,” Sen. Perdue said in a statement.
“Sonny’s executive experience as a two-term Governor of Georgia, the first Republican in 135 years, as well as his veterinary background and agribusiness career, are a few of the many reasons he is the best person for the job,” he said.
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