Gov. Christie shares thoughts on USDA, EPA and why he vetoed bill to ban gestation crates
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
CAMANCHE, IOWA, July 26, 2015 - If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie makes it through the crowded Republican field of GOP presidential candidates and on to the White House, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will likely be on his speed dial for all things agricultural.
Responding to questions from farmers at the Clinton County Republicans' annual hog roast near Camanche, Iowa, on Friday, Christie says he started to educate himself on agricultural issues by talking to “my good friend Terry Branstad” because few people know more about agricultural policies than Iowa's longest serving governor.
Branstad's advice came in particularly handy when the New Jersey legislature twice sent Christie bills to prohibit the use of gestation crates for sows. Christie said the bills were “aimed right at Iowa” so he called Branstad to discuss the topic.
In the process, he learned that, “We have almost no pig farms in New Jersey and, from the pig farms we do have, none of them use these gestation crates.
“So typical of my Democratic legislature, we were banning something we didn't do. So I vetoed both of those bills…..in large measure because of advice I got from Governor Branstad and the education he allowed me to have on that issue.”
Asked about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Christie said he was very familiar with Lisa Jackson, the woman who was appointed by President Barack Obama to run the agency during his first term, because she previously served New Jersey's commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“I saw the damage she caused in New Jersey and I replaced her. . . We have worked to make the DEP much more business-friendly, worked with businesses to get rid of regulations that were no longer necessary, worked to make our permitting processes fairer, more transparent and more cooperative with our customers - the business community in New Jersey.
“So I had the experience of dismantling the business-unfriendly environment that Lisa Jackson created in New Jersey. I cannot wait to dismantle it at the EPA, as well,” he emphasized.
Asked about changes he would make at USDA, Christie said he would “put someone in charge of USDA who actually has done this before.
“One of the biggest problems we have with the USDA is that we have people who are placed in charge who don't have the real life experience that folks have in dealing with the agricultural community. All too often they are professional Washington folks who are just putting forth an agenda that's been given to them from on high.
“I would find someone who can look me in the eye and teach me about their real life experiences and how that would make the process easier for people who are growing the food - not only for our country but around the world.”
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