Political Insider

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Donald Trump: Sonny Perdue will do 'great things' in ag role

Donald Trump said Sonny Perdue will do "great things" as his new agriculture chief, formally announcing Thursday the former Georgia governor will be his pick for the nation's top farm guru.

“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," said Trump in a statement.

Perdue was selected Wednesday as Trump’s agriculture secretary, giving the first Republican governor to lead Georgia since Reconstruction the opportunity to set the nation’s farm policy.

He said in a statement he would "champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role.”

The 70-year-old Perdue, a veterinarian by training, has deep ties to agribusiness. That helped him win over Trump, but it could also pose potential conflicts as he seeks confirmation to lead the sprawling $140 billion U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Perdue’s upset win in the 2002 race for governor triggered a GOP wave in Georgia, a onetime stronghold for Democrats. Today, both chambers of the Georgia Legislature and all the state’s constitutional officers are Republicans.

As governor, Perdue led the state through two recessions, providing a steady fiscal hand but infuriating fellow Republicans when he vetoed tax cuts. He also became immersed in a battle over whether the Confederate battle emblem should appear on the state flag.

But Perdue also brought a deep religious faith to the job: He resisted efforts to expand alcohol sales on Sunday, and when the state suffered a devastating drought, he led a vigil praying for rain.

Read more about Perdue – and his role as agriculture secretary – here.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.