| Tom Vilsack served corporate interests for eight years as Secretary of Agriculture under Obama. Now, with Vilsack being the nominee for the same position under Biden, we have chilling insight into how bad the situation would be at USDA with him at the helm again.
Click here to send a quick email to your senators and tell them to vote NO on confirming Vilsack.
Three strikes against Vilsack:
1. Tom Vilsack is in the pocket of “Big Ag.” As Agriculture Secretary he repeatedly capitulated to corporate interests over the needs of workers and small farmers. Vilsack -- aka “Mr. Monsanto”-- ushered through a spineless GMO labeling standard rubber-stamped by Big Ag, and sped-up the approval process for genetically modified crops. He allowed the meat industry to further monopolize -- squeezing out small farmers -- and scaled back oversight of poultry processing plants (permitting them to effectively self-regulate), endangering food and worker safety. Immediately after leaving his post at the USDA in 2016, Vilsack became CEO of one of the largest U.S. dairy lobbies.
2. Tom Vilsack claimed to have presided over a “New Era for Civil Rights at the USDA,” but -- according to the countless civil rights groups and associations of black farmers angered by his recent nomination -- the truth was quite the opposite. An extensive two-year investigation by The Counter revealed that Vilsack’s USDA misrepresented data to minimize persisting disparities and discrimination against black farmers to deceptively portray its own civil rights record.
3. Vilsack’s nomination has been hazardous for the outcome of Georgia's Senate runoff election set for January 5. Before Vilsack’s nomination, leaked audio from a private meeting between President-elect Biden and civil rights leaders revealed that Biden was warned that the nomination of Vilsack to the post of Secretary of Agriculture could potentially imperil the outcome of the Georgia runoff election. Some of the ire toward Vilsack from rural black voters in Georgia stems from an incident in 2010 when he came under scrutiny for the wrongful firing of Shirley Sherrod, who was serving as USDA’s Georgia Director of Rural Development.
Email your senators and urge them to vote NO on Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture.
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The Team at RootsAction.org
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>> George Goehl, The Guardian: "Biden's pick for agriculture secretary raises serious red flags"
>> The Counter: "How USDA distorted data to conceal decades of discrimination against black farmers"
>> David Dayen, The Intercept: "Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Urges 2020 Democrats to Back Dairy Industry"
>> Ricardo Salvador and Mark Bittman, New York Times: "Goodbye, U.S.D.A., Hello, Department of Food and Well-Being"
>> Tom Philpott, Mother Jones: "USDA Ruffles Feathers With New Poultry Inspection Policy"
>> Politico: "Black farmers, civil rights advocates seething over Vilsack pick"