[31] Perdue disappointed some Georgians by not making the 1956 flag one of the choices on the ballot, despite a campaign promise to do so. [46] Perdue failed to disclose his ownership of the property in required financial disclosure forms. … Here’s a day in the life of your Secretary of Agriculture. Perdue served in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain before his discharge. Sonny Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. The North American Vexillological Association had deemed it the ugliest U.S. state flag. He also won reelection in 2000. The work of promoting American agricultural products to other countries will begin with those relationships and will benefit us domestically, just as it will fulfill the moral imperative of helping to feed the world. [41] The floods resulted in Perdue declaring a state of emergency in 17 counties. Sonny Perdue issues state of emergency for 17 Georgia counties", "Perdue fails to disclose '04 purchase of land", "Trump to announce Sonny Perdue for Agriculture", "Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture", "Trump hires campaign workers instead of farmworkers at USDA", "Sonny Perdue is Trump's 'designated survivor' for State of the Union 2018", "Perdue tells second Iowa Ag Summit he wants to support new farmers", https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/420184-trump-administration-to-return-refined-grains-to-school-lunches, "Economists flee Agriculture Dept. [59][60][61], Perdue and his wife, Mary (née Ruff), were married in 1972 after dating for four years. [39], In 2008, Perdue worked with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to implement Ready Georgia, a campaign to increase disaster preparedness throughout the state. 5:30 a.m. Perdue’s policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles which will inform his decisions. [30] The choices were a modified version of the First National Flag of the Confederate States of America, with the Georgia State Seal prominently displayed inside a circle of 13 stars, or the flag created in 2001 by the Roy Barnes administration. As a youngster growing up on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia, Perdue never fully realized that the blessings of purposeful, meaningful work would serve him as well as they have in life. [62] They have four children (Leigh, Lara, Jim, and Dan),[62] 14 grandchildren (six boys and eight girls), and have also been foster parents for many children. Here's Why", "USGS Release: Atlanta Flooding Sets New Records", "Gov. [52] In August 2017, he announced a mentoring program for new farmers. Charles S. Bullock, III, The Georgia Political Almanac, The General Assembly 1993–94. The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry overwhelmingly approved his nomination on March 30, with a 19–1 vote. [32] Georgia voters chose the flag resembling the Confederate flag. Perdue addressed the crowd, saying "We've come together here simply for one reason and one reason only: to very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm" and "God, we need you; we need rain". George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III[1] (born December 20, 1946) is an American veterinarian, businessman and politician serving as the 31st and current United States Secretary of Agriculture since 2017. However, most served in the early years of the war and were either forced at gunpoint or feared reprisals for disloyalty. Third, as Americans expect a safe and secure food supply, USDA will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards we’ve established. [23], Late in the evening of March 29, 2005, the penultimate day of the legislative session, Representative Larry O'Neal, who also worked part-time as Perdue's personal lawyer, introduced legislation making capital gains tax owed on Georgia land sales deferrable if the income goes to purchase out-of-state land, also, unusually, making the tax break retroactive. [54], Under Perdue, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been accused of suppressing scientific publications for political reasons. [53] In December 2018, he changed the nutrition standards for school lunches to allow more refined grains, allow milk with added sugar, and increased sodium. Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Georgia, spoke with Jason Chaffetz on The Brian Kilmeade Show about the upcoming Georgia senate runoff election. [13][14], Perdue is not related to the family who owns and operates Perdue Farms (commonly associated with "Perdue Chicken").[15][16]. When he was a young boy feeding the calves and plowing the fields, he was an integral part of the workforce on his father’s farm. His cabinet position was the last to be filled by President Donald Trump, and is the latest starting date for an agriculture secretary in an incoming administration since the USDA became a cabinet department in 1889. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to Address Farmer2Farmer Conference Secretary will meet with growers and address 4,000 attendees in Omaha November 25, … The United States secretary of agriculture is the head of the United States Department of … [20] He became the first Republican governor of Georgia in over 130 years since Benjamin F. "[34], In 2006, Perdue signed a law that gave Georgia "some of the nation's toughest measures against illegal immigrants". [8], Perdue was born in Perry, Georgia, the son of Ophie Viola (Holt), a teacher, and George Ervin Perdue Jr., a farmer. The USDA's press office rejected CNN's request to interview Ziska, but not Politico's, where he went on to describe the department as internally fearful of Perdue's open skepticism towards climate change, which, according to Ziska, has led officials to "go to extremes to obscure their work to avoid political blowback". [65], In 2006, while still governor, Perdue made a cameo appearance as the coach of the East Carolina Pirates football team in the movie We Are Marshall, large portions of which were filmed in Georgia. Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017. A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States. Food security is a key component of national security, because hunger and peace do not long coexist. Perdue remains a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot and avid outdoor sportsman. The United States is blessed to be able to produce more than its citizens can consume, which implies that we should sell the bounty around the world. As the product of Georgia, a state where agriculture is the leading economic driver, Perdue recognizes that agriculture is an issue and industry which cuts across political party boundaries. Founder and partner in an agricultural trading company,[4] Perdue served from 2012 to 2017 on the Governors' Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.[3][5] He is the second secretary of agriculture from the Deep South; the first was Mike Espy of Mississippi, who served under President Bill Clinton from January 1993 to December 1994. [35], On November 13, 2007, while Georgia suffered from one of the worst droughts in several decades, Perdue led a group of several hundred people in prayer on the steps of the state Capitol. [24], In 2007, Perdue convinced a skeptical legislature to approve a $19 million fishing tourism program he called Go Fish Georgia. In his 2002 election campaign, Perdue promised that he would let the state's citizens vote to determine the state flag. "[44], The project overall has been scrutinized as a waste of taxpayer money due to mismanagement of bond money and extremely low visitors. (Washington, D.C., April 25, 2017) – Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony today at the Supreme Court building. [1][9] He grew up and still lives in Bonaire, an unincorporated area between Perry and Warner Robins. As the son of a mother who was an English teacher for 42 years, he benefitted from her teachings as well – not just by instilling in him the beliefs he still holds dear, but also by lending him an appreciation and respect for language and proper grammar. At his confirmation hearing, Chairman Pat Roberts said that Governor [21], Perdue advocated reforms designed to cut waste in government, most notably the sale of surplus vehicles and real estate. Other issues addressed by Perdue include assisting rural communities, helping farmers operate with less regulation, increasing exports, passing the 2018 farm bill, and addressing crop damage caused by dicamba. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue Comments on Federal Aid Program “This first draft [of the program] is probably going to be in the $16 to $18 billion dollars, $16 billion in direct payments to our producers really in all of our sectors, including cattle, livestock, the cash cow count, calf operations, hogs, as well as produce, specialty crops, and commodities. [64], Perdue is an avid sportsman. Official websites use .gov Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has made headlines announcing a trade mitigation program and reorganizing the USDA since taking office in April 2017. Ivanka Trump, right, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, left, speak with a farming family during a visit to the North Carolina State Farmers Market in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 10, 2020. Washington, DC 20250 Dear Secretary Perdue: Thank you for the important work that you are doing to promote and restore economic opportunities in our rural communities. In January 2003, he became the first … In December 2001, Perdue resigned as state senator and devoted himself entirely to running for the office of Governor of Georgia. He stated that “legitimate, measurable carbon trading” could spur so-called carbon sequestration by giving farmers an incentive to innovate. His committee assignments included Ethics, Finance & Public Utilities, Health & Human Services, Reapportionment and Economic Development, Tourism & Cultural Affairs. It generated $102,077 in revenue, or about 11 cents for every dollar it cost to run the center in years past. He was sworn in by Supreme Court associate justice Clarence Thomas. [23] During his governorship, Perdue collected at least $25,000 in gifts, including sporting event tickets and airplane flights. [46], In December 2004, Perdue bought $2 million worth of land near Disney World from a developer whom he had previously appointed to the state's economic development board. The relationship between the USDA and its trade representatives, as well as with the U.S. Trade Representative and Department of Commerce, will be vital. Sonny Perdue is an American politician who served as the Secretary of agriculture since 2017 and was selected by President Donald Trump.Perdue is the 81st Governor of Georgia who served from 2003 to 2011. However, Perdue was faced with a Democratic House that would not allow the 1956 flag to be included in the referendum, due to its Confederate origins, and he needed support for a tobacco tax he wanted to pass to raise revenue. He is acknowledged as a national leader in agriculture, having served as a board member for the National Grain & Feed Association, and as President of both the Georgia Feed and Grain Association and the Southeastern Feed and Grain Association. He has lived and breathed the exhilaration of a great crop and the despair and devastation of a drought. Erin Morris, Acting Deputy Administrator. But more than anything in his life, it was the family farm which shaped Sonny Perdue. He is the 31st and current United States Secretary of Agriculture since April 25, 2017. [33] In a 2014 editorial published by National Review, Perdue criticized attempts by "some on the left or in the mainstream media" to connect climate change to weather events. Donald Trump has chosen former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue to be his secretary of agriculture, completing a protracted search with implications for how the president-elect plans to … Under Secretary Perdue, the USDA will always be facts-based and data-driven, with a decision-making mindset that is customer-focused. After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia, he put that training to use in private practice in North Carolina. [43], Upon the end of Perdue's term as Governor, many in the Georgia General Assembly condemned the project and Perdue after an advisory council (appointed by Perdue) began to funnel additional bond money to the project located in his home county. [26] In 2007, Georgia moved up to 46th place. George Ervin " Sonny " Perdue III (born December 20, 1946) is an American politician. Perdue has pledged to be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture. [36], According to a March 5, 2008, proclamation by Perdue, "Among those who served the Confederacy were many African-Americans, both free and slave, who saw action in the Confederate armed forces in many combat roles. He served as his party's leader in the Senate from 1994 to 1997 and as president pro tempore. First, he will maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, payments on the Go Fish bonds, approved by Perdue and the General Assembly in 2007, runs through December 2027 with most payments $1 million a year in bond money. [28] Perdue also created additional opportunities for charter schools and private schools. The sole vote against him came from Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate former Georgia Gov. [18] After his first year in office, Senator Perdue wrote then Lt. (Washington, D.C., December 21, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today detailed which functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will remain available in the event of a lapse in government funding. Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. [22], In January 2003, Perdue signed an executive order prohibiting himself and all other state employees from receiving any gift worth more than $25. [67], 81st Governor of Georgia; 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture. He switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1998 and was re-elected to the State Senate as a Republican. Born George Ervin Perdue III, Perdue has been known as Sonny since childhood, and prefers to be called by that name; he was sworn in and signs official documents as "Sonny Perdue". Transcript: HH: So pleased to welcome to the program a member of the cabinet of the United States, the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. [6] His nomination was approved by the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on March 30 by a 19–1 voice vote,[7] and by the entire Senate in a vote of 87–11 on April 24. The sole vote against him came from Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). In 2009, the Reason Foundation’s Innovators in Action magazine recognized Perdue as a leader who “aggressively pursued new strategies to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of government and deliver better value at less cost to taxpayers.” In addition, he was named “Public Official of the Year” in October 2010 by Governing Magazine. Sonny … He earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Perdue has long-standing, close relationships with the leadership of the American Farm Bureau and has been recognized by the Georgia 4-H and FFA programs, among others, for his leadership in agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture. [45], During his governorship, the Georgia State Ethics Commission received thirteen complaints against Perdue. Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture, speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federations 99th Annual Convention at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 8, 2018. He appreciates the daily concerns and needs of American farmers, while also understanding the intricacies of global commodities markets. [46] The land was eventually sold to developers; however, the state was evaluating bidding on the property and keeping it as a reserve. U.S. Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. As a two-term governor of Georgia, he was credited with transforming a budget deficit into a surplus, dramatically increasing the student performance in public schools, and fostering an economic environment that allowed employers to flourish and manufacturers and agricultural producers to achieve record levels of exports. [22] Prior to Perdue's becoming governor, no state agency had compiled an inventory of what assets were owned by the state. They will expect, and have every right to demand, that their government conduct the people’s business efficiently, effectively, and with the utmost integrity. Many credit Pierre Howard for helping Perdue build the early foundation of what would become his future political career.[19]. Libertarian Garrett Michael Hayes was also on the ballot. of Agriculture", "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress – 1st Session", "Meet David Perdue—He Might Be Georgia's Next Senator", National Governors Association: Sonny Perdue, "Trump taps former Georgia governor for agriculture secretary", "Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue – Perdue Farms Plans Major Expansion in Georgia", "Official Results of the November 5, 2002 General Election", "Ethical Lapses Trail Nominee For Agriculture – Conflicts of Interest as Governor of Georgia", "3 minutes, 1 tax bill, $100,000 for Sonny Perdue", "Georgia climbs in SAT rankings despite drop in score", "2008 SAT Results Highlight Need for Rigor", "Georgia View: Sonny Perdue's Non-Legacy", "Georgia leaders try to skip controversy in flag vote", "Tom Price, Kasim Reed, Sonny Perdue and the Art of the Georgia Deal", "Statement of Governor Sonny Perdue Regarding Court Ruling to Stay Transition to Reformulated Gasoline", "Georgia Enacts a Tough Law on Immigrants", The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The "Great Truth", "Trump could name Agriculture Secretary whose drought strategy was to pray for rain", "Yes, There Were Black Confederates. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, right, speaks as President Donald Trump looks on during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, at the White House in … Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. He enjoys flying and, in a 2003 incident, was accused of flying a state helicopter without a license. As governor, he reformed state budget priorities, helped Georgians create more than 200,000 new jobs, and promoted his home state around the world to attract new businesses. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue joined me this morning: Audio: 01-08hhs-perdue. Governor Perdue, welcome, it’s great to have you with us. [66], In 2006, Perdue's financial disclosure forms revealed that he had a net worth of approximately $6 million and received compensation of $700,000 that year. 16/10/2020 As a global community, we share a common responsibility to feed the growing world population. "To me it was a boondoggle because of the amount of money they were spending and the location," said Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "You have got to have stuff where there is a lot of traffic. [3], In 2004, Perdue sued the Environmental Protection Agency to block environmental regulations on reformulated gasoline. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) abstained, as he is the nominee's first cousin. [3], In 2006, Perdue was re-elected to a second term in the 2006 Georgia gubernatorial election, winning nearly 58% of the vote. He shortly after became a committee chairman, then climbed the leadership ladder to majority leader, then Senate president pro tempore. He won the 2002 Georgia gubernatorial election, defeating Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes 51% to 46%, with Libertarian candidate Garrett Michael Hayes taking 2% of the vote. Perdue has been married to Mary Ruff Perdue for 45 years and has four adult children and fourteen grandchildren. The design of the 2001 Georgian flag was widely unpopular, being derisively named the "Barnes flag". [11], In education, Perdue promoted the return of most decision-making to the local level. [24] Perdue signed the legislation into law on April 12, 2005, three days before tax day. Additionally, Perdue recognizes that American agriculture needs a strong advocate to promote its interests to international markets. He led the state of Georgia, which has more than 42,000 farms and a $74 billion agriculture sector. Secure .gov websites use HTTPS I would like to welcome all participants to today’s telephonic press briefing with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who will share U.S. perspectives on the global challenges of agricultural sustainability, food security, and trade, in addition to … Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America, delivering his speech during the World Food Day Ceremony 2017, FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. To this day, his thoughts are never very far from the wishes of the citizens – the true owners of the government. But who is the white-haired, southern man behind the headlines? [29], In 2001, Democratic governor Roy Barnes replaced the 1956 state flag, which incorporated the battle flag of the Confederacy, and which had been adopted by Georgia largely as a protest against desegregation. Welcome to our New Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. [56][57], In February 2020, Perdue endorsed putting a price on carbon dioxide, a climate change policy favored by many economists. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 24, with Bernie Sandersand nine Democrats includ… A lock ( LockA locked padlock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. From childhood, and through his life in business and elected office, Perdue has experienced the industry from every possible perspective. Although it returned to last place in 2005,[25] Georgia rose to 49th place in 2006 in the combined math and reading mean score, including the writing portion added to the test that year. He is the first and currently (as of February 2020) the only member of the Trump administration to endorse such a plan. Perdue is a strong believer in good government, in that it should operate efficiently and serve the needs of its customers: the people of the United States. In 2011, he founded Perdue Partners, which facilitates the export of U.S. goods and services. As public servants representing farmers, it is vital that we Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April … [2] He previously served as the 81st Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011; Perdue was the first Republican to hold the office since the Reconstruction era.[3]. [13] He defeated Republican candidate Ned Sanders in 1990 and succeeded Democratic incumbent Ed Barker as the senator representing the 18th district. Even though Perdue pledged during his confirmation process in 2017 to put his assets in a blind trust so that he would not benefit from decisions he makes as secretary, he appears not to have … [55] In August 2019, Lewis Ziska, a USDA plant physiology climate scientist, quit after department administrators attempted to impede the publication of one of his studies to the journal Science Advances. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 24,[48] with Bernie Sanders and nine Democrats voting against him. The Honorable Sonny Perdue Secretary of Agriculture . The Georgia Department of Natural Resources figures showed 21,101 people visited the Perry facility in fiscal 2015, which ended June 30. [27] In 2008, Georgia moved up again, to 45th place. After serving as a member of the Houston County Planning & Zoning Commission in the 1980s, Perdue ran as a Democrat for a seat in the Georgia General Assembly. Perdue wrote that "liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science because their arguments have become so ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality. [50], Perdue was the designated survivor on January 30, 2018 for President Trump's first State of the Union address. Sonny Perdue has served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture since 2017. The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on Monday evening. Senator David Perdue by their grandfather George Erwin Perdue I. He learned by experience what his father told him as a child, “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.”. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "As the vigil ended, the sun shone through what had been a cloudy morning. [46] The land was adjacent to the 20,000-acre Oaky Woods preserve being sold by Weyerhaeuser. [40] The next year, Georgia was affected by the 2009 Southeastern United States floods, which were the most severe floods in Georgia's recorded history. Sonny Perdue on Confirmation to Lead Dept. [12], In 1971, Perdue earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, and worked as a veterinarian before becoming a small business owner, eventually starting three small businesses. [23] The State Ethics Commission ruled against Perdue twice, finding that he had taken improper campaign contributions from donors including SunTrust Banks and that he had improperly used one of his family business's airplanes on campaign, for which the commission fined the sitting governor. [24] Perdue then used the new law on his 2004 tax return to defer $100,000 in taxable gains from the sale of land. On January 18, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture. The administration began acquiring bond money for the Go Fish Education Center near his home in Perry,GA. [42], Beginning in 2007, Governor Perdue began to pursue the goal of making Georgia the "bass-fishing tourism mecca". And today, those land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and countless millions more around the globe. It was a long wait. As a state senator, he was recognized as a leading authority on issues including energy and utilities, agriculture, transportation, emerging technologies and economic development, and for his ability to grasp the nuances of complex problems. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue pledged in 2017 to separate himself from his multimillion dollar business holdings that could pose conflicts of interest in his public duties. Perdue then decided that the Go Fish Education Center would be built down the road from his home. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday called the coronavirus a "pandemic," using a term that has not been used by the White House or government health agencies as … The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on Monday evening. He will seek solutions to problems and not lament that the agency might be faced with difficult challenges. It should be the aim of the American government to remove every obstacle and give farmers, ranchers, and producers every opportunity to prosper. As a younger man, he served his country in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of Captain. [51], During his tenure as Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue has focused on helping new farmers get started in agriculture. 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Democratic incumbent Ed Barker as the 81st governor of Georgia ; 31st United States approved. In as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture since 2017 your Secretary of Agriculture,! And still lives in Bonaire, Georgia moved up from last place in the from. That “ legitimate, measurable carbon trading ” could spur so-called carbon sequestration by giving an.