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Trump to name ex-Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as ag secretary

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will name former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as his nominee for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, a senior transition official said on Wednesday, bypassing U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., wh...

Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue speaks to the media. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will name former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as his nominee for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, a senior transition official said on Wednesday, bypassing U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who was reported to be in the runnng for the job.

Perdue, 70, served on Trump's agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign. His nomination, which must be confirmed by the Republican-led Senate, will complete Trump's proposed Cabinet just two days before he is sworn in as president on Friday.

During his time as governor, Perdue's key agricultural issues included water management and making changes to the tax code that were beneficial to farmers, said Jeffrey Harvey, legislative director for the Georgia Farm Bureau.

Perdue, a Republican, was elected to two terms as governor, serving from 2003 to 2011. Before that, he served in the state Senate representing a rural swath of the state about 100 miles south of Atlanta.

After finishing his second term as governor, Perdue founded Perdue Partners, a global trading firm that consults and provides services for companies looking to export products.

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North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was long rumored to be a candidate for the post, but told her brother Joel Heitkamp on his KFGO radio show in December her top priority remains serving the people of North Dakota.

"I'm not saying 'never, never,' but I will tell you that I'm very, very honored to serve the people of North Dakota, and I hope that no matter what I do, that will always be my first priority," the Democratic senator said.

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