The Senate Agriculture Committee has scheduled a vote for today, March 29th. This vote will determine if the appointment will make it to the floor for final confirmation.
WHO IS THIS GUY?
Per Ballotpedia, Sonny Perdue is the former governor of Georgia. Prior to that, he held a state senate seat, and was a veterinarian. So, basically, he is 110% qualified to be the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the failing New York Times, "environmental activists have condemned this appointment because Perdue allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies that help chemical companies and large agriculture conglomerates at the expense of small farmers and the environment."
Since the USDA is responsible for farm policy and food safety, funding food stamps and nutrition programs, it makes sense to be concerned about the Secretary's environmental history.
Here are 5 Sketchy Facts about Perdue, from Mother Jones:
- He displayed disturbing nostalgia for the Confederacy while governor of GA.
- He enacted severe voter ID laws - and you know how we feel about that. Check our our series on voting rights if you're behind.
- He crackdown on undocumented workers (TWICE!) and spread the falsity that undocumented workers siphon welfare benefits and burden taxpayers.
- Perdue is personally invested in the agriculture industry. He owns a company that trades agricultural commodities globally, and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from agribusiness interests during his time as governor.
- As governor, Perdue passed a tax bill regarding paying taxes on land. At the last second, a change was added to make the tax break retroactive. Why? So the Governor himself could save about $100k in state taxes.
WHO IS SUPPORTING HIM?
Both Republicans and Democrats are supporting this nominee, especially those with ties to agriculturally-rich areas. But just because he knows the agriculture industry does not mean he is fit to hold the highest related office in the land. Not to mention the fact that the Senate committee didn't question him about climate change, which he has rejected. I'm personally a fan of opening that can of worms.
Perhaps more importantly, the committee failed to question Perdue about SNAP (food stamps), which makes up more than 50 percent of the USDA budget. This is especially concerning given the focus of Republicans and the administration to cut welfare programs and benefits to those in need.
Call your senators (lookup) and use this sample script:
Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ and calling to oppose Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture. His history of using his role as governor of Georgia to benefit his own business has no place in America’s leadership. We need a secretary that will stand up for SNAP and address the very real issues of climate change. How does _NAME_ intend to vote on Perdue?