The fact President-elect Donald Trump waited until the eve of his inauguration to nominate former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary may not bode well for Wisconsin farmers. That's according to a Wisconsin member of Congress and a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse political scientist.
Perdue becomes the last open cabinet pick made by Trump's transition team and it surprised U.S. Rep Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, that it took this long.
"Trump's electoral strength was in rural America," Kind said. "A large part of that economy is how the farm economy is performing. I think we do need a robust rural economic development agenda. I know many of our family farmers have been struggling the last couple of years due to low commodity prices. When the farmers struggle, the Main Street businesses struggle, school districts and rural hospitals struggle. It's all tied together."
Kind said the late appointment will have an impact because there won't be a chance for Perdue (if and when he's confirmed) to spend time with the outgoing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack working on transitional agricultural issues and could delay work on the next farm bill, which is due to be reauthorized in the next couple of years.
Kind and UW-La Crosse political scientist Joe Heim both said the late appointment is likely because of the president-elect's inexperience and lack of ties to rural America.
Kind said it's too early to predict what a Trump administration will focus on, but he wants them to focus on economic issues that improve the lives of everyone in Wisconsin and America. He said a growing economy can solve a lot of the country's problems.
Read the full article from Wisconsin Public Radio.