President Bush announced this morning that he’s nominating the governor of Nebraska, an Iowa native, to be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in place of departing Ann Veneman. Mike Johanns served on city and county boards and was mayor of LIncoln before his election to two terms as Nebraska governor. Accepting the nomination today, Johanns referred people to the bio on his website which says he was born on a dairy farm near Osage, Iowa. He says he’s very, very proud of his background on that farm. He graduated from high school in Osage before going on to a Minnesota college and then Creighton Law School in Omaha. He cites a radio ad he ran during his campaign for governor, which said in part that after growing up on a dairy farm, everything in life seems easy. As governor Johanns says he’s devoted a lot of time to rural economic-development and agriculture issues in Nebraska, across the country and overseas. He praised outgoing ag secretary Veneman for her work on those issues, too. The appointment changes the political landscape in Nebraska, where Johanns had been expected to challenge democratic U.S. Senator Ben Nelson in 2006. Lieutenant governor Dave Heineman will take over the final two years of Johanns’ term in office.
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