Iowa native Mike Johanns has removed the one roadblock to his expected run for U.S. Senate, with his resignation as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture today in a Rose Garden ceremony.
It’s expected Johanns will announce his run for U.S. Senate in Nebraska soon. Johanns, who grew up on a dairy farm near Osage, is required by law to resign a federal post to run for office. (Photo: Ag Secretary Mike Johanns at an event in Ames.)
The former Nebraska governor says he took Nebraskans with him everywhere he went as Ag Secretary. "I often thought of the wisdom they conveyed to me during my years as governor," Johanns says, "I often thought of their decency, and I did my best to remain true to the common sense, practical approach of Nebraskans." Johanns says the decision to leave the U-S-D-A was difficult and, despite not saying anything about the Senate race, he did offer a campaign pitch.
Johanns says: "One particular rural state has remained especially near and dear to my heart; it is a place where the richness of the land is only equaled by the character of its people. Of course, I’m speaking of the place that Stephanie and I and my family call home, the great state of Nebraska." No word yet on when Johanns will make his Senate campaign official. Johanns says the decision to leave the president’s cabinet was difficult and he thanked his boss for the opportunity.
Johanns says: "Under your leadership American agriculture is stronger today than at any time in history. Whether you look at farm equity, whether you look at net cash income, whether you look at agricultural exports, records are being set under your leadership and they’re being broken each year with a new record." Johanns needed to resign as U.S. Ag Secretary per federal law before he could make his bid for the Senate seat now occupied by the retiring Republican Chuck Hagel.
Johanns says "The decision to leave this post has not been an easy one. I grew up with farmers and ranchers as my childhood heroes and my mentors. Representing them in Washington has been a great privilege." President Bush stood beside Johanns during the ceremony outside the White House and, at first, only hinted at what Johanns’ future plans might include.
"No question in my mind that Mike loves Nebraska and he’s serious about going home and possibly serving the nation in a different capacity," Bush said. While Johanns never mentioned the Senate race during today’s ceremony, President Bush offered his endorsement. Bush says: "If it’s Mike’s decision and Nebraska’s choice, he would make an outstanding member of the United States Senate. There is no doubt in my mind." The president says, "I’ve admired the fact that he is not only a decent person and an honest person, but he’s a person who can get some things done."
"He understands the importance of the land. He worked tirelessly on behalf of farmers and ranchers. And Mike Johanns did an outstanding job as the Secretary of Agriculture," according to Bush. Johanns is expected to join a crowded Republican field in his bid to replace Chuck Hagel — a field that includes Nebraska’s Attorney General Jon Bruning, former Nebraska Congressman Hal Daub and Schuyler businessman Pat Flynn.