Trump cabinet taking shape, Ag secretary one of two positions not filled
As President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration looms, his cabinet is coming together.
Of the 15 executive departments, Trump has selected his nominees for all but two posts — the Secretaries of Agriculture and Veterans Affairs. All 15 need Senate approval before they can take their respective offices.
Trump has also selected his choices for three of the six Cabinet-ranked positions, including Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency.
SECRETARY OF STATE:
Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil, but will leave that post Dec. 31. He took that post in 2006. Prior to that he was the president and director for four years.
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY:
Mnuchin is a former hedge fund investor and investment banker, who started his financial career at Goldman Sachs. Mnuchin also co-founded Dune Capital, which invested in movies, including the “X-Men” franchise.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Gen. James Mattis
Mattis is a retired Marine, who is nicknamed “Mad Dog.” President Barack Obama wanted him to be the head of the U.S. Central Command, but Mattis retired instead. Mattis served from 1969-2013, last serving as the 11th Commander of the U.S. Central Command.
Sessions is an Alabama Senator, who took office in 1997, after two years as the Attorney General for the state. Sessions was among the first senators to support Trump.
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:
Zinke is a representative from Montana, who also served in the Montana Senate from 2009-11. Zinke was a Navy SEAL from 1986-2008, ending his service as a Commander.
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:
To be determined.
Names that have been mentioned to fill this position are Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Chuck Conner, CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Sid Miller, Texas ag commissioner, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:
Ross is an investor who made a career of taking unprofitable businesses and making them profitable, earning him the nickname, “king of bankruptcy.” He’s invested in the coal and steel industries.
SECRETARY OF LABOR:
Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. It was Puzder’s law career that got him involved with the company. Puzder is credited with saving CKE Restaurants from going bankrupt in the early 1990s.
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:
Price is a representative for Georgia, who was elected to office in 2005. Prior to that, he was a Georgia Senator from 1997-2005. Before taking office, he was an orthopedic surgeon.
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT:
Carson ran against Trump for the GOP nomination before dropping out and supporting the president-elect. Carson, a surgeon, was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins for 29 years.
SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION:
Chao was President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor, and was the only member of the cabinet to stay throughout Bush’s presidency. Chao previously served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation for President George H.W. Bush.
SECRETARY OF ENERGY:
Presidential-hopeful Perry ran for the Republican nomination in 2012 and again this year. Perry was governor of Texas for 15 years, after almost two years as lieutenant governor. He took over in 2000 after George W. Bush was elected into office.
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION:
DeVos was the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, and is chairwoman of The Windquest Group. The philanthropist is most known for her advocacy for private school vouchers.
SECRETARY OF VETERAN AFFAIRS:
To be determined
Names being tossed around for this position include Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. There have also been reports of some veterans organizations calling for Trump to keep current Sec. Robert McDonald at the post.
SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY:
Gen. John F. Kelly
Kelly retired as a Marine Corps General after serving in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars. Kelly was the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command under President Barak Obama, and retired in February. ❖
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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has reintroduced the Defense of Environment and Property Act and all of us in the agriculture industry need to get behind this legislation. We also need to urge our representatives in…