Maxwell Bernstein | February 24, 2021
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack was confirmed by the senate in a 92-7 vote on Tuesday to head the Department of Agriculture for a second time, according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
During his confirmation hearing, Vilsack discussed his plans to meet climate change goals, food insecurity, supply chain problems, and address inequalities that Black farmers face. “I will ensure all programming is equitable and work to root out generations of systemic racism that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous and People of Color,” Vilsack said. “I will build the most diverse team in the Department’s history, one that looks like America, and will extend that commitment across all USDA agencies and offices.”
Out of the seven senators who opposed Vilsack, 6 included Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida. Bernie Sanders, the independent senator of Vermont also opposed Vilsack.
According to The Hill, Sanders said, “I like Tom and I’ve known him for years. I think we need somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture…I think he’ll be fine, but not as strong as I would like.”