The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Obama Appoints Vilsack to Agriculture, Salazar to Interior

Keeping his presser-a-day streak alive, this morning President-elect Barack Obama filled two more cabinet slots, nominating former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa) as

Karan Emery
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Dec 17, 2008

Keeping his presser-a-day streak alive, this morning President-elect Barack Obama filled two more cabinet slots, nominating former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa) as secretary of agriculture and Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Col.) as secretary of the interior.

A month ago, Vilsack was considered the front-runner for the agriculture position, but in late November he told the Des Moines Register that he had not been contacted by Obama and was “no longer” in the running. Yesterday afternoon, reports surfaced that would indeed take the helm at agriculture.

Rumors of his selection drew criticism from Michael Pollan-mold food policy advocates, who argued that his support for ethanol and corn subsidies — Iowa is the country’s largest grower of corn — would get in the way of significant reform of the Department of Agriculture. Apparently addressing concerns that the pragmatic Vilsack might hew to the status quo, Obama said that “as fiercely protective of family farms and the farm economy as he’s been, he’s also forward-looking” on issues of energy and sustainability.

Salazar, accepting the nomination in a cowboy hat and bolo tie, emphasized the importance of faith to his ancestors, who helped found the city of Santa Fe, and said, “Today, as I stand here, I see their faith shining brightly on Barack Obama.” He laid out some of his priorities, which include reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, improving infrastructure, preserving parks and working with Native American nations.

Salazar’s appointment has been criticized by some liberal Democrats who would have preferred the progressive Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). According to NPR, “The only ones pleased with the rumored pick were those in the agriculture and mining industries. During the campaign these folks, generally, were counted as supporters of Republican John McCain.”

But Obama said that Salazar would be “at the cutting edge of environmental of energy policy so that commercial interests are just one group among many groups.” And liberals may actually stand to gain from his appointment. Salazar, who worked in environmental law before becoming a senator, is considered more progressive on the environment than on other issues. His Senate seat may now be filled by a more liberal legislator.

Once again, Obama could not dodge the Blagojevich scandal when he took questions from reporters. Asked when his report on his team’s interaction with the Illinois governor might be released, he replied that the delay was “a little bit frustrating” to him and assured reporters, “By next week, you guys will have the answers to all your questions.”

Karan Emery | I'm a research scientist interested in learning more about how neural activity influences and shapes human behavior. Project design and management, data analysis and interpretation, and the creation and implementation of testing tools are among my specialties. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and coming up with practical solutions to issues that are widely applicable. My colleagues would describe me as a driven, resourceful individual who maintains a positive, proactive attitude when faced with adversity. Currently, I’m seeking opportunities that will allow me to develop and promote technologies that benefit human health. Specific fields of interest include data analytics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.

Related

Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole

John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,

MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals

BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks

MA-Sen: Brown Wins

BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie

MA-Sen: 66 to 19

BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary

MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown

BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to

MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown

BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,

MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’

Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of

Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation

Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of

Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket

Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.

No Experience Necessary

Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com