The U.S. Senate today voted to confirm an Iowan to serve as Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U-S-D-A. Tom Dorr of Marcus, that’s in northwest Iowa, has been working in the U-S-D-A almost from day one of the Bush Administration, but he faced a long battle to win Senate confirmation for the job. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat who’s a member of the Senate Ag Committee, opposed Dorr’s appointment to the post. Harkin says Dorr “defrauded the government” by falsely reporting data from his farming operations to avoid federal limits on payments to individual farmers. “I just don’t think someone like that really deserves to be put on as an undersecretary (of agriculture),” Harkin says. Harkin says Dorr’s apology today for what Harkin describes as “ill-gotten gains” is not enough. U.S. Ag Secretary Mike Johanns issued a statement this (Thursday) afternoon, calling Dorr a “tireless advocate for rural America.” Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Charles Grassley, says Dorr ” has a deep commitment to rural development” and Grassley says Door’s “vision and intellect will be a very positive addition to the Department of Agriculture.” Dorr was confirmed for the job on a 62 to 38 vote.
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