Who Is Sonny Perdue? Donald Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Pick Completes The Cabinet
On Sunday evening, the Trump administration announced that the President-elect will be nominating Sonny Perdue III to be the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. This announcement constitutes the final Cabinet nomination for Trump, who has now selected nominees for all 15 Cabinet departments.
Perdue, from Georgia, has a long history of both public and private sector work, having served in several elected offices as well as owing several small businesses throughout his career. Notably, however, because of his nomination as Secretary of Agriculture, he has no has relation or link to chicken-producing Perdue Farms.
In his early life, Perdue started his career as a captain in the U.S. Air Force and, interestingly, a veterinarian; he holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. Perdue's first foray into politics was in 1990, when he was elected as a Georgia state senator. After serving in the Senate for over ten years, Perdue was elected governor of Georgia in 2002.
Perdue's election constituted the first time a Republican was elected to gubernatorial office in the state in 130 years. Perdue was re-elected as governor in 2006 and ended his second and final term in 2011. According to Ballotpedia, during his time as governor, Perdue's objectives centered around diminishing governmental waste, reforming education, and giving Georgia residents agency in designing their state flag after a controversial legislative ban on the state's confederate flag prior to Perdue's first election.
Since leaving office, Perdue has been heavily involved in the private sector. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he has run several businesses, including "trucking, agriculture and logistics firms from his base in middle Georgia."
Perdue is not a surprising pick for Secretary of Agriculture, given his involvement with the Trump campaign and support of the President-elect as a candidate. Indeed, Perdue was a member of Trump's Agriculture Advisory Committee during his campaign, and, according to 11AliveNews in Atlanta, Perdue was an early Trump supporter and was "instrumental in getting Mike Pence to make a campaign stop in Perry, [Georgia.]"
While Perdue's nomination hearing and approval by the Senate are still both forthcoming, the Republican Congressional majority makes it highly likely that Perdue will receive the votes needed to secure his nomination. If Perdue does indeed become Secretary of Agriculture, he would be the first Southerner to lead the department in over 20 years. It will certainly be interesting to see how Perdue's nomination hearing unfolds and what ideas he will propose to guide the USDA through the Trump administration.