At least two top Democrats in the U.S. Senate are calling on President Donald Trump to withdraw the nomination of Iowa native Sam Clovis as the U.S.D.A’s Undersecretary of Research, Education and Economics.
Clovis isn’t a scientist and critics charge he’s not qualified for the post. Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman says the position should be filled by a “top-notch scientist” and “we shouldn’t settle for anything other than the top person we can find.”
“We want to make sure we’re using the best available science at U.S.D.A. and that’s what some of our farmers are expressing,” Lehman says. “We’re dealing with so many issues of innovation and science and technology in agriculture right now. We do have a lot of people that are concerned in that regard.”
Clovis has said he’s skeptical of climate science. Formerly of Hinton, Clovis has worked in the U.S.D.A. since Trump took office, serving as a liason to the White House. Iowa Soybean Association President Rolland Schnell says he knows Clovis personally and supports his confirmation at U.S.D.A.
“I think he would be good in that position and I know as far as climate change and those other things, I would agree pretty much with all of his standings,” Schnell says. “Again, he’s not the top dog. I’m not a bit worried about that, I guess.”
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Ag Committee, is joining with New York’s Charles Schumer in calling for Clovis to be taken out of the running. Clovis is a U.S. Air Force veteran who was a Morningside College economics professor and talk show host on KSCJ Radio in Sioux City before he entered politics.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)