You know, he was brought on actually, you know, during Sonny Perdue's tenure to take on the job. USDA argues that the reorganization Perdue laid out in his 2017 ethics agreement was intended to separate the secretary from two agribusinesses in particular: grain merchandiser AGrowStar LLC and grain marketer Pro Ag Products, both of which were also owned by Perdue Business Holdings before they were sold to outside buyers. Steve Fennessy: This has been percolating for a while now, Eric: this this idea of Sonny Perdue as the next chancellor of the University of Georgia system. On January 18, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture. Charles S. Bullock, III, The Georgia Political Almanac, The General Assembly 199394. So Sonny Perdue is very much in the good graces of Donald Trump. Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaires wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do. There's been a lot of different issues that colleges are facing regarding social issues and political issues. Why is there 19? So you've had recently, you know, the Board of Regents members serve seven-year terms. [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]. [News tape] FOX5: Critics have questioned Perdue's experience, pointing out his lack of experience in the higher education setting. 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. Meanwhile, in 2020, the pandemic ravaged meatpacking workers and put millions out of work, causing a surge in the need for food assistanceboth very much areas of concern for the agriculture department. RELATED: Oversight group isnt reviewing Georgia regents choice of Sonny Perdue. The board cited Perdue's, quote, "vast understanding of the issues facing the university system," unquote. Steve Fennessy: But in the state of Georgia, I would think that, at least of jobs that are sort of in the employ of the state of Georgia, there are few that are more prominent or important than chancellor. Let's go into November and be against Stacey Abrams together.". [22], Perdue advocated reforms designed to cut waste in government, most notably the sale of surplus vehicles and real estate. His anti-immigrant machinations worked all too well, creating a crippling labor shortage for Georgias immigrant-dependent farms and poultry slaughterhouses. Not surprisingly, the news has dismayed many, both inside and outside of academic circles, who worry that Sonny Perdue is conservative politics will set the university system on a dangerous course and even put the system's accreditation at risk. And you know, I think there have been a couple of state lawmakers who have publicly come out against the idea. You know, I've worked with him, but you know, I just didn't feel like, you know, he was the best person for the job. Governor Pierre Howard asking for more responsibilities, and Howard obliged. [12] A 2005 tax bill passed by the Georgia Legislature allowed residents to gain a tax break if they sold a property in Georgia to buy similar property in another state, and made the change retroactive to 2004. publicly condemned how the university system selected Mr. Perdue, will be the first woman to head the institution, a large-scale, low-cost online Master of Science degree program. There may be that short list that some of these members of the Board of Regents have, but they're not allowed to discuss it publicly. A longtime Atlanta-based journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of Atlanta magazine. You know, it's kind of a fascinating situation that, you know, your cousin is running for governor and at the same time his political opponent could be putting you in charge of one of the most important positions in state government. Eric Stirgus: Now, you know, conversely, his supporters say he was a governor of Georgia for eight years. Steve Fennessy: Matthew Boedy, a University of North Georgia professor and president of the Georgia conference of the American Association of University Professors, told the New York Times that, quote, "a chancellor's job is to defend the system against such bills. Perdue restructured his original family trust into a new fund that he did not oversee, and the fund then sold off two of his businesses directly involved in agriculture the only assets that posed potential conflicts, according to a USDA spokesperson. On this Wikipedia the language links are at the top of the page across from the article title. He's a two-term former governor, Secretary of Agriculture. [News tape] 11Alive: Critical race theory about whites, blacks and U.S. history, parents saying that CRT is now indoctrinating students disguised in the school system's initiatives on diversity, equity and inclusion. Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer Eric Stirgus: The chancellor is sort of the person who makes sure all the trains run on time, so to speak. He left in June. Like Trump, hes a former Democrat who ascended to political power (in Perdues case, Georgia governor) in a stunning upset. Perdue served in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain before his discharge. [14][15], Perdue is not related to the family who owns and operates Perdue Farms (commonly associated with the brand "Perdue Chicken").[16][17]. after feeling punished under Trump, "Economists flee Agriculture Dept. Eric Stirgus: It was pretty newsy for us. Can you pitch in a few bucks to help fund Mother Jones' investigative journalism? Eric Stirgus: Correct. [60] 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 in the journal Science Advances. Now the nonprofit American Oversight is asking USDAs inspector general to review the new structure of Perdues assets and determine whether it violates the commitments he made as a nominee for the job in 2017. Eric Stirgus: Yeah it's an important issue because, you know, colleges and universities that do not have accreditation, they can their students cannot get federal financial aid that helps pay for tuition for a lot of college students. SteveFennessyis host of Georgia Today,a weekly radio show and podcast on Georgia Public Broadcasting thatexplains stories of interest to Georgians through the experience and perspective of the reporters covering those stories. He switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1998 and was re-elected to the State Senate as a Republican. There are probably about 48,000 employees in the university system, and they range from professors, assistant professors, you know, associate professors, guest lecturers, you know, everything from electricians to people who work in the cafeterias. Revoking accreditation to schools including the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State and Georgia Southern would be a monumental step. The latest scrutiny stems from the agriculture secretary's wealth of current and former interests in agriculture, trucking and land development. You know, looking at that and he can say that Gov. [57] Current and former employees of the ERS were strongly critical of the relocation to Kansas City, saying the resulting exodus of scientific and economic talent caused disruption to federal research, especially on climate change and food security. So those are some of the things that have concerned a lot of state leaders or particularly on the Republican side. Steve Fennessy: How Gov. Sanders: one of the the most fun, engaging, charming, and charismatic people Ive ever been around. Perdue: he has an amazing instinctive ability to make decisions.. Alec Poitevint, long a pivotal player in the Perdue network, is now backing Kemp over David Perdue. Eric Stirgus: For now, we have not heard any discussion about, you know, where Sonny Perdue will ultimately fall on the governor's race. [53] In August 2017, he announced a mentoring program for new farmers. After the sale, the huge boiler on the property was sold for approximately $500,000, easily covering the cost of the purchase even if the rest of the land had been valueless. GPB is committedto bringing you comprehensive news coverage from Georgia, across the country and around the world. Eric Stirgus: Most of them are designated by congressional district. There were so many cabinet members who who left, and then he had to appoint new ones. Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters. Eric Stirgus: There have been some faculty members who have, you know, written letters to the University System of Georgia, you know, stating their opposition. So I think there is some concern out there among some of them. Please consider making a gift today to support this vital public service. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) abstained, as they are first cousins. [32] Perdue disappointed some Georgians by not making the 1956 flag one of the choices on the ballot, despite a campaign promise to do so. 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 has long been Trumps most effective advocate among rural voters, visiting all 50 states to spread the presidents message and spearheading massive taxpayer aid programs that kept farmers afloat through Trumps trade war and the pandemic. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who like Grassley is up for reelection in 2022, said he hasn't "paid a lot of attention" to Georgia's governor race, saying "we got our hands full . [7] Steve Fennessy: You mentioned that there's a long political history between Sonny Perdue and Brian Kemp. One is there was a group of students who created a group called Students against Sonny. [6] His nomination was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee by a 191 voice vote on March 30. He enjoys flying and, in a 2003 incident, was accused of flying a state helicopter without a license. "[35], In 2006, Perdue signed a law that gave Georgia "some of the nation's toughest measures against illegal immigrants. The new questions surrounding Perdues 2017 agreement follow his rebuke last week by the Office of Special Counsel for using a taxpayer-funded event to promote President Donald Trumps reelection, in violation of the Hatch Act. The department did not provide further documentation that potential conflicts in 2017 were limited to AGrowStar and Pro Ag Products. Many credit Pierre Howard for helping Perdue build the early foundation of what would become his future political career.[20]. Steve Fennessy: What form has that opposition taken on college campuses or in academic circles? One is looking at his record, as you know, the governor of Georgia. And then also, I think, you know, there's been some criticism that he's not the best qualified person for the position. Not that Perdue lacks national stature - he was the governor of Georgia, a heavily agricultural state, from 2003 to 2011. Now to me, Eric, that sounds like a kind of an implied threat that appointing Sonny Perdue as chancellor could mean that we'd lose accreditation. [14] He defeated Republican candidate Ned Sanders in 1990 and succeeded Democratic incumbent Ed Barker as the senator representing the 18th district. Secretary Perdue has visibility into and control over the trusts and their underlying assets, and he continues to benefit from them despite the plain terms of his 2017 ethics agreement, Evers wrote to the inspector general. Kudlow used the opportunity to fluff Trumps economic record. We'll be back next week. [68] They have four children (Leigh, Lara, Jim, and Dan),[68] 14 grandchildren (six boys and eight girls), and have also been foster parents for many children. [54] In December 2018, he changed the nutrition standards for school lunches to allow more refined grains, allow milk with added sugar, and increased sodium. Governor Perdue stood out for his impressive experience and leadership in public service as well as a vast understanding not only of Georgia and its communities but of the issues facing the university system as we move forward, Harold Reynolds, the chair of the Board of Regents, said in a statement on Monday. She currently produces the Georgia Today and Battleground: Ballot Box shows. The Board of Regents announced that the former Republican governor is its choice to become chancellor. Trump announced just days before his own inauguration, on Jan. 20, 2017, that. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said today that he did not plan to step down from his Cabinet duties, amid reports that the president is getting ready to make several . But you know, we are hearing, you know, some of the newer members could be a lot more supportive of Sonny Perdue. What is it about this job that appeals to him? Steve Fennessy: So I'm guessing that maybe he wants to stay out of this altogether, or do we know if he is going to make any kind of public statement endorsing one way or the other? Here's Why", "USGS Release: Atlanta Flooding Sets New Records", "Gov. This is Georgia Today. (David Perdue is now locked in a tight runoff election that could decide which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.). Steve Fennessy: So he left in June. Or are they sometimes coming from outside it? The former Georgia governor has a background in agriculture. I'm going to read a paragraph towards the end of her letter. The staff of Mother Jones is highlighting the years heroes and monsters. In 2010, at the tail end of his second term as governor, Perdue named his cousin, David Perduewho had just stepped down as chief executive of Dollar General discount storesto the board of the Georgia Ports Authority. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has long been President Donald Trumps most effective advocate among rural voters. You know, then there are many others outside the metro area. 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. Therefore the new trust Perdue listed on his 2019 financial disclosure, identifying himself as a co-trustee, poses no conflict of interest or violation of his ethics commitments, the spokesperson said. Perdues spokesperson also rejected the watchdog groups request for an investigation as politically motivated. How is that number arrived at? And so, you know, they point to things like that and they also point to issues, you know, point to things that, you know, hey, other states have hired elected officials and former politicians to lead colleges or universities. It generated $102,077 in revenue or about 11 cents for every dollar it cost to run the center in years past. Sonny Perdue was its sole finalist to become chancellor, a choice that has outraged some professors and led a. Secretary Perdue complied with his ethics agreement and followed the advice of ethics officers at USDA when he restructured the Perdue Family Revocable Management Trust into a new family management trust, in which the secretary and his wife had no ownership interest and were not trustees, the spokesperson said in a statement. Students and faculty members around the state are reacting to news that Republican former Gov. This is Georgia Today. Inexpensive, too! [11], Perdue played quarterback at Warner Robins High School and was a walk-on at the University of Georgia,[12] where he was also a member of the Beta-Lambda chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity. Chris Saeger, a spokesperson for Accountable.US, said the reorganization of Perdues assets from one trust to another appears to be nothing more than a shell game and a maze of technicalities and denials.. Why is accreditation important for a university system like Georgia's? A Big Ag corporation sold it to Sonny Perdue's company for $250,000", "Agriculture secretary pick Perdue led big political change in Georgia", "Official: Perdue flew copter without license", "Governor Perdue Makes Acting Debut in "We Are Marshall", Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Administrator of the Small Business Administration,, Democratic Party Georgia (U.S. state) state senators, Republican Party Georgia (U.S. state) state senators, Presidents pro tempore of the Georgia State Senate, Republican Party governors of Georgia (U.S. state), Military personnel from Georgia (U.S. state), Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 1 March 2023, at 05:05. And so now he's no longer on the regents. [41] The next year, Georgia was affected by the September floods, which were the most severe in Georgia's recorded history. Am I being naive to think that that that would be the case? He also has largely avoided the sort of major scandals that have dogged many others in Trumps Cabinet. Eric Stirgus: Yes. Eric Stirgus: There was some support on the regents, but not enough support to get him across the finish line to be named as chancellor. 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. Although it returned to last place in 2005,[26] 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. But then prior to him, you had Errol Davis, who was a utilities company executive and he had no administrative experience in higher education. Georgia Public Radio GPTV, Oversight group isnt reviewing Georgia regents choice of Sonny Perdue. The board cited Perdue's, quote, "vast understanding of the issues facing the university system," unquote. Perdue then decided that the Go Fish Education Center would be built down the road from his home. 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", "Trump administration to return refined grains to school lunches", Many USDA workers to quit as research agencies move to Kansas City: 'The brain drain we all feared', ERS union predicts mass exodus ahead of relocation, 'Cut, Relocate, Eviscerate': Moving a USDA Research Agency Will Have Lasting Consequences, Employees Say, Economists flee Agriculture Dept. Brian Kemp and thought Trump thought his endorsement would spell immediate trouble for the incumbent. The business holdings were a source of concern during his confirmation process, as well as during his time as Georgia governor from 2003-11, when he faced more than a dozen ethics complaints and was found to have funneled illegal amounts of money from his businesses to his campaign in 2002. Perdue is a cousin to Trump Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. He was the only member of the Trump administration to endorse such a plan. Brian Kemp is in a fierce battle with David Perdue. The FALF Management Trust had no conflicting assets with his duties as Secretary of Agriculture, and therefore the Secretary could become a trustee of the trust. [News tape] parent at recent school board meeting, 11Alive: "This isn't critical race theory. Brian Kemp thinks so, and it looks like he's getting his way. [50], In September 2017, Politico reported that, according to 42 reviewed resumes, the department hired 22 former Trump campaign workers, many of which had no significant agricultural knowledge or experience with federal policies. I ran because I was frustrated with the government. [43], Beginning in 2007, Governor Perdue began to pursue the goal of making Georgia the "bass-fishing tourism mecca". According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it was a plum post for the political novice, which he used as a springboard that helped propel him to a US Senate seat in 2014. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 24,[49] with Bernie Sanders and nine Democrats voting against him. [46] The land was adjacent to the 20,000 acres (81km2) Oaky Woods preserve being sold by Weyerhaeuser. But the threat is part of the latest controversy for the Board of Regents, which in October approved a new policy where universities can fire tenured professors with little to no faculty input. Sonny Perdue and Brian Kemp have a longstanding relationship politically, and then you have Sonny Perdue's cousin who is running against the governor now in the GOP primary. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources figures showed 21,101 people visited the Perry facility in fiscal 2015, which ended June 30. The latest scrutiny stems from Perdues wealth of current and former interests in agriculture, trucking and land development a complex web of trusts, land parcels, holding companies and subsidiaries. The regents hired another firm, and then it put Ms. McCartney as acting chancellor, and so there really hasn't been much movement up until, I guess, the last few weeks. So you have 14 members who serve each congressional district in Georgia, and then there are five at-large positions. Sonny Perdue is cousins with David Perdue, who is now engaged in a bitter primary battle against Brian Kemp Brian Kemp, who, of course, is backing Sonny Perdue. The new law saved Perdue $100,000 in state taxes. Not satisfied with fighting to take food off the tables of poor families, Perdue also set his sights on farm workers. 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." Two-thirds of the reassigned USDA employees chose to quit rather than accept relocation. Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, First National Flag of the Confederate States of America, North American Vexillological Association, United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, List of American politicians who switched parties in office, "Former Georgia governor tapped as Trump's agriculture secretary, sources say", "Company Overview of Perdue Partners, LLC", "BPC Congratulates Sec. [News tape] CNN: The former president recruited the former Sen. David Perdue to mount a primary challenge to Gov. Steve Fennessy: By definition, you're appointed as a regent by the sitting governor, but appointing and hiring a chancellor is supposedly, at least theoretically, not supposed to be political, right? The Georgia Board of Regents on Tuesday named former governor and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as the sole finalist to lead the state's University System. [29] Perdue also created additional opportunities for charter schools and private schools. His nomination was transmitted to the U.S. Senate on March 9, 2017. So we have not had a chancellor at least, a non-interim chancellor for at least seven or eight months, right? So very excited to have the president standing with us and I'm a lot like him. Earlier this week, Georgia's Board of Regents announced that Sonny Perdue was the sole finalist for the job. [25] Perdue then used the new law on his 2004 tax return to defer $100,000 in taxable gains from the sale of land. [46], In December 2004, Perdue bought $2 million worth of land near Disney World from a developer who he had previously appointed to the state's economic development board. Last month, the U.S. State Department said it will start processing more applicants seeking H-2A temporary. You know, there was a faction of regents members who were not supportive of him at all. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo. United States, Copyright 2023, Georgia Public Broadcasting. Eric Stirgus: Sonny Perdue, you know, encouraged then-President Trump to endorse Brian Kemp in the Republican primary back in 2018. He was sworn in by Supreme Court associate justice and fellow Georgian Clarence Thomas. He also won reelection in 2000. Sonny Perdue Age: 75 Birthplace: Perry, Georgia Political History: Georgia state senator, 1991-2002; governor, 2003-2011; U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary, 2017-2021. All Rights Reserved. Perdue is a kind of an easy-going Southern version of the president he served so zealously. Steve Fennessy: The governor appoints the regents on the Board of Regents; there's 19 of them. I'm Steve Fennessy. [63], In August 2020, Perdue supported the president's re-election while promoting the Farmers to Families Food Box Program; Perdue was fined for violating the Hatch Act. Senator David Perdue by their grandfather George Ervin Perdue I. In 2018, while Perdue was secretary, Soque River Conservation asked the Army Corps to modify the credits held by the company in a way that could boost its value by nearly $3 million, the groups estimate. The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry overwhelmingly approved his nomination on March 30, with a 191 vote. [25] Perdue signed the legislation into law on April 12, 2005, three days before tax day. Brian Kemp: Obviously, this is huge for our campaign. You know, he also backed Brian Kemp to fill the position of Secretary of State. Eric Stirgus: Publicly, I don't think he's said one way or another right now. I understand that the Board of Regents, at least in its previous iteration, was not necessarily too keen on the idea of Sonny Perdue as the next chancellor, is that correct? He shortly thereafter became a committee chairman, then climbed the leadership ladder to majority leader and to Senate president pro tempore. He won his first term in 2014 by fewer than 8 percentage points. couples weight loss challenge prize ideas, holstein, iowa, obituaries,