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Make USDA ‘The People’s Department’ Again

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/04/make-usda-peoples-department-again

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The U.S. Government needs a good spring cleaning.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is a great place to start.
I will not be holding my breath.
As a friend of mine once said about projects which appear to be overwhelming…
“just start somewhere, it doesn’t matter.”


Lawmakers and industry leaders are pushing new candidates in the race for Agriculture secretary as the Biden transition team seems to be at an impasse between the leading names in the race: former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp or Rep. Marcia Fudge.

For weeks, food and agriculture leaders have assumed that the pick will come down to either Heitkamp or Fudge.

Now, two other prominent agricultural leaders are being aggressively pushed by allies: Kathleen Merrigan, a USDA veteran who was deputy secretary in the Obama administration, and Arturo Rodriguez, past longtime leader of the United Farm Workers union. Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a loyal Biden surrogate, is also now a possibility.

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Instead of accepting even Sanders’ centrist-left stance, the Democrats’ strategy was to tar Trump as pro-Russian, insist that his aides had committed impeachable offenses, and mount one parade after another. “Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio told reporters she was wary of focusing solely on an “economic message” aimed at voters whom Trump won over in 2016, because, in her view, Trump did not win on an economic message. “What Donald Trump did was address them at a very different level — an emotional level, a racial level, a fear level,” she said. “If all we talk about is the economic message, we’re not going to win.” This stance led Sanders supporters to walk out of a meeting organized by the “centrist” Third Way think tank on Wednesday, February 8.