Associated Press is reporting that President Bush will name former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer to be Secretary of Agriculture.
Schafer, who chose not to run again in North Dakota in 2000, will replace Mike Johanns, who resigned as U.S. agriculture secretary last month to launch a bid for the Nebraska Senate seat being vacated by Republican Chuck Hagel at the end of next year.
Bush will make the announcement at 2 p.m. EDT in the Roosevelt Room.
This is a very good appointment. Governor Schafer is strong supporter of trade and exports as a way to bolster the ag economy, a politically brave position to take in a state where too many politicians promote protectionism and subsidy as the sole path to prosperity. We would expect him to become another strong advocate of the pending free trade agreements, especially with the Latin American countries. The governor has traveled extensively abroad and speaks fluent Spanish.
Schafer was also a contemporary of NAM President John Engler during Governor Engler’s service in Michigan.
And, as the AP reports: “His energy, friendliness and optimism, Schafer’s political friends and foes both agree, made him a popular governor.” That’s right.
On a personal note, as a former employee of the Governor — on his 1996 re-election campaign and as a policy advisor on his senior staff — your Shopfloor.org blogging correspondent is very, very pleased. Ed Schafer is a good man, and as governor, he was a fine and dedicated public servant. He’ll be an excellent Ag Secretary.
(Reuters story here.)
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