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Excerpt: "A coalition of national progressive organizations launched a grassroots campaign Monday urging senators to vote against President Biden's nomination of Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary."

Tom Vilsack. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Tom Vilsack. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Progressives Launch Campaign to Block "Mr. Monsanto" From Agriculture Department Top Job

By Reader Supported News

25 January 21


coalition of national progressive organizations — including Food & Water Watch, Progressive Democrats of America, and The Zero Hour — launched a grassroots campaign Monday urging senators to vote against President Biden’s nomination of Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary.

“Tom Vilsack has made a career of catering to the whims of corporate agriculture giants — some of whom he has gone to work for — while failing to fight for struggling family farmers at every turn,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “America needs an Agriculture Secretary that will finally prioritize sustainable family farming and national food security over corporate profits. Tom Vilsack has proven not to be the leader we need.” national director Norman Solomon said: “Vilsack has routinely backed agribusiness, which continues to return the favor. But constituents who care about the environment, small farms, labor rights and racial justice are urging their senators to vote against Vilsack when his nomination reaches the Senate floor.” (The RootsAction email alert that went out Monday morning is here.) Solomon added: “It’s fitting that Vilsack can’t shake the nickname ‘Mr. Monsanto’ — he earned it.”

Alan Minsky, the executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, said: “We need an advocate for small farmers, a champion for civil rights, and a protector of the environment to lead the Department of Agriculture. Tom Vilsack was none of these things during his eight years as Agriculture Secretary. We encourage U.S. senators to vote No on his nomination.”

Organizers of the campaign to block the Vilsack nomination said they expected thousands of constituents to individually contact their senators’ offices on Monday to urge a No vote. An action webpage is making it easy for constituents to send a personal email directly to their senators.


George Goehl, The Guardian: Biden’s pick for agriculture secretary raises serious red flags

The Counter:How USDA distorted data to conceal decades of discrimination against black farmers

David Dayen, The Intercept: Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Urges 2020 Democrats to Back Dairy Industry

Ricardo Salvador and Mark Bittman, The New York Times:Goodbye, U.S.D.A., Hello, Department of Food and Well-Being

Tom Philpott, Mother Jones: USDA Ruffles Feathers With New Poultry Inspection Policy

Politico:Black farmers, civil rights advocates seething over Vilsack pick

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