While President Bush may be considering any number of people from his White House staff for the post of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says none of those folks are worthy. Grassley is renewing his call for the president to name eastern Iowa native Allen Johnson as the replacement for Ann Veneman, who resigned the top U-S-D-A job last week.Grassley says Johnson comes from Scott County, an area rich in family farming heritage, while he also has extensive experience as being the administration’s chief agricultural trade negotiator. Grassley says if Johnson were appointed, he could help give Bush “a real legacy” in international trade. He says no one else in the White House can come close to Johnson, a Long Grove native, in hands-on agricultural work behind the wheel of a tractor or in his experience behind the negotiating table. Grassley, a republican, says the post of ag secretary deserves someone who “has dirt under their fingernails,” adding, “I don’t know of anybody in the White House that has even been doing any gardening around the White House to get dirt under their fingernails.” Johnson was an aide in Grassley’s office for several years in the early 1980s. Democrat Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has also endorsed Johnson.
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