From News Reports
U.S. Agriculture Secretary-nominee Sonny Perdue said March 24 during his confirmation hearing, he will team up with senior U.S. trade officials in promoting the sale of American farm products around the world.
Perdue said he has had preliminary talks with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative-designate Robert Lighthizer about “the great opportunity they have to use the bounty of American agriculture to promote agricultural products and to sell those products around the world.”
Reportedly Perdue sailed through his confirmation hearing.
In a media statement, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, said he was pleased with the hearing and Perdue. Now a full vote by the Senate is needed to confirm the once Georgia governor.
“I think we will have a good vote, and we have told the leadership we would like to move him as soon as possible, and the leadership has agreed,” Roberts said after the hearing. “This has been a very good hearing.”
During the hearing Perdue was pressed on the new Trump administration’s proposal to cut USDA’s budget by $4.7 billion, or 21% below this year’s level, according to USA Today. The budget “blueprint” said the administration will reduce funding for the USDA’s statistical capabilities and eliminate the water and wastewater loan and grant program, saving $498 million over this year’s level. It also proposed eliminating the Rural Business and Cooperative Service for a $95 million saving.
“As a member of the administration, I view this budget similar to what as governor [I experienced with cuts],” former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee during the hearing. “I didn’t like it … but we managed to it.”
What do we know about Sonny Perdue? Here are some quick facts:
• He is a Georgia farm boy that holds a 1971 doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. He practiced as a veterinarian for several years.
• He served in the US Air Force where he rose to the rank of captain.
• Perdue has created and managed several businesses through the years including a commodity trading company and is a founder and managing member of AGStar, a grain elevator with 11 locations in Georgia and South Carolina;
• His political career started as a county zoning commissioner the he served numerous years as a legislator for the state of George. In 2003 he became Georgia’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction (the state’s rebuilding after the Civil War).
• While governor, he signed a bill that cracked down on illegal immigrants in Georgia.
• Also while Governor and during a severe drought he asked Georgians to pray for rain and held a prayer service on the capitol steps. It was a highly debated event.
• He pushed water conservation during the drought and also sued the Army Corps of Engineers over battles regarding water flows between neighboring states.
• As governor, Perdue appointed three people to state positions: Trey Childress, Heidi Green, and his cousin/CEO of Dollar General, David Perdue.
After leaving office, Sonny Perdue founded Perdue Partners LLC with Childress, Green and David Perdue.
• Perdue’s biography notes that during his first term, Georgia saw “the highest graduation rate and SAT scores in state history.” Prior to that the state’s SAT scores were ranked the lowest in the country.
• He promoted Georgia around the world, visiting companies and governments in 25 countries to take unprecedented new business to the state, including the relocation of two Fortune 500 company headquarters, a new automotive assembly plant and a new Global 100 manufacturing operation.
• In 2010 Governing Magazine named him as a Public Official of the Year for his outstanding leadership.
• Sonny and Mary Perdue have four children and fourteen grandchildren. The Perdues teach a Sunday school class at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock focused on the importance of marriage.