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10 Questions for Sonny Perdue, Trump's USDA Nominee

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, President Trump's nominee to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Here are 10 questions committee members should ask.

  1. How will he address farm pollution? Agriculture is a leading source of drinking water pollution, but Perdue is a former fertilizer salesman who once spent $2 million with the hope of draining a Florida swamp for development.
  2. Does he support gutting rural water programs? The Trump “skinny budget” cuts USDA programs to clean up rural water supplies, which are some of the most polluted water sources in the country.
  3. Will he defend anti-hunger programs? Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Agriculture Committee, opposes block-granting anti-hunger programs in the next farm bill, but Perdue’s views on anti-hunger programs remain a mystery.
  4. Will he reform farm subsidies? Though there is scant evidence he has worked as a “farmer,” Perdue has received almost $300,000 in farm subsidies. Will he support efforts to subject farm subsidies to reasonable reforms?
  5. How will he address the USDA’s legacy of discrimination? Thanks to a long history of racial discrimination by the USDA, white farmers likely continue to receive the vast majority of farm subsidies. Will Perdue commit to making subsidy distribution more transparent?
  6. How will he reduce routine use of antibiotics? Despite new Food and Drug Administration rules, most antibiotics continue to be mixed into the feed of farm animals, jeopardizing the effectiveness of these life-saving drugs.
  7. Did he use his public office to benefit his own companies? After being elected governor, Perdue brought his business partners into state government and steered state funds to projects that benefitted his companies.
  8. Did he knowingly sign a law to reduce his own taxes? As governor, Perdue signed a law written by his own attorney – who also served in the state legislature – that retroactively extended a tax break to out-of-state land deals, netting himself $100,000 in state tax relief.
  9. Will he require that all GMOs are disclosed? Perdue will have to implement a new law that requires the disclosure of all genetically engineered ingredients – including GMO sugars and oils.
  10. How will he promote healthier diets? Too many Americans continue to struggle with obesity, driving up the cost of health care. Will Perdue support efforts to promote healthy diets like MyPlate?



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