It’s rare a possible presidential appointee to a major cabinet post gets the endorsement of -both- of Iowa’s U.S. senators, since they’re from different parties — but it’s happened this week. Democrat Tom Harkin says he’ll join republican Chuck Grassley in backing Iowa native Allen Johnson as the replacement for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venemen, who announced her resignation Monday. Harkin says Johnson’s a great choice for the post.Harkin says he’s known Johnson a long time and likes him a lot, adding, there’s a list of different candidates for the job “but what the heck? I’d rather have an Iowan there.” Johnson, a Scott County native, is currently the Bush administration’s chief ag trade negotiator.C-Span watchers will be able to easily pick out Senator Harkin today. A big white bandage covers much of Harkin’s forehead this morning after his outpatient surgery on Monday in Washington D.C., his second facial surgery in two years. Harkin had a small cancerous growth removed, a squamous cell carcinoma, or a common form of skin cancer. He says “it’s fine” and “nothing life threatening.” He remarks he wished someone had told him as a teenager not to spend so much time in the sun, and he encourages Iowans to wear their sunblock. Harkin also underwent surgery on his face in 2002 as he had a pre-cancerous skin condition on his lower lip.
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