On Tuesday, the Senate Environment Public Works Committee approved Andrew Wheeler's nomination to be the next EPA administrator. Wheeler, who is currently serving as the acting administrator, cleared the committee on an 11-10 party-line vote. No date has been set for a vote in the full Senate.
Wheeler recently announced members to serve on the EPA's Science Advisory Board as well as four subcommittees. The members on the Agricultural Science Committee are as follows: Bruce Craig, Jeffrey Novak, Michael Sherman, Lawrence Sullivan, Robert Thaler, and Kevin Wagner. Craig hails from Purdue University with expertise in crop science and phytopathology. Novak is a research soil scientist for the USDA in South Carolina. Sherman is the associate state legislative director for North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation with expertise in agricultural engineering. Sullivan is an adjunct professor at The Citadel, Thaler also works in academia for South Dakota State University focusing on concentrated animal feeding operations, and Wagner is a director at Oklahoma State University with an agronomy and soil science background.
President Donald Trump announced plans to nominate acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to lead the agency. Bernhardt was confirmed as deputy secretary of the department by the Senate, 56-39, and began serving in his position Aug. 1, 2017. He then became acting secretary in January after then-Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned Dec. 15, when investigations into his real estate dealings began to pile up.
President Trump appointed Judd Deere to serve as special assistant to the president and deputy press secretary. Deere will cover agriculture issues and other focus areas. Deere previously served as the special assistant to the president and director of media affairs. Trump also announced other appointments for the executive office of the president. Some notable appointments include: Thomas Andrews will serve as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs and Benjamin Howard will serve as deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of legislative affairs; Joseph Grogan steps in as assistant to the president for domestic policy and Benjamin R. Hobbs and James J. Redstone serve as special assistants to the president for domestic policy; Kelly Ann Shaw will work as special assistant to the president and senior director for international trade, investment, and development.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., named the senior GOP staff members for the Energy and Commerce Committee. Some staff will continue on in the same role, but there are also some new faces. Peter Kielty was appointed general counsel. He was previously deputy general counsel, a position he’s held since 2012. Zack Roday serves as communication director, formerly working as communications director for the Republican Attorneys General Association, past spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan’s national political organization and communications director for former Rep. David Young, R-Iowa. Adam “Buck” Buckalew was tapped to serve as director of coalitions, previously serving as professional staff member on the health subcommittee and past staff member for Reps. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. and Gregg Harper, R-Miss.. In the 116th Congress, he will also serve as the Republican Deputy Chief Counsel for Health.
Rep. Roger Marshall, R-KS., tapped Michael Brooks as legislative director. Formerly covering Ag and Energy policy for Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., Brooks will continue to cover the same issues for Marshall.
Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., appointed Adrian Deveny as advisor on energy and climate issues. Deveny served 8 years in Oregon Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, most recently as legislative director.
Newly elected Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., hired Kirsten Hartman as Deputy Chief of Staff. Hartman previously worked as media relations director for the National Restaurant Association and past communications director for Sen. Amy Klobuhar, D-MN.
Mae Stevens accepted a new position with the Signal Group as executive vice president, after working in Sen. Ben Cardin’s, D-Md., office as his senior advisor on infrastructure and the environment. Previously, she served as a senior legislative assistant to Congressman Matt Cartwright, D-PA., and a legislative assistant to Congressman Russ Canahan, D-MO. Shannon Frede was promoted to legislative assistant for Sen. Cardin's staff.
Anthony DeAngelo was named communications director for Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J. For the past three years, DeAngelo served as media relations manager at APCO Worldwide LLC.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hired Brad Kehr as chief counsel for liberty and values. Kehr previously worked as government affairs counsel for Americans United for Life and for Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.
Current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of B&G Foods Inc, Ken Romanzi, has been tapped to become CEO of the company. Romanzi will succeed Bob Cantwell, who will retire after 35 years with the company. Cantwell spent four years as CEO and will continue with B&G as an M&A and corporate finance consultant.
There’s been no change in ownership, but the current president of Sinochem Agriculture, Qin Hengde, will be "retained" to oversee Syngenta's China business. Qin will replace Syngenta's Regional Director for China, Andrew Guthrie, who is retiring at the end of March. In July of 2018, Sinochem's Chairman Ning Gaoning, who uses the name Frank, was appointed Chairman of Chemchina, which bought Syngenta in 2017. He continues to also serve as chairman of the Chinese state-owned petrochemical and fertilizer company Sinochem. Former ChemChina chairman and architect of the $43 billion Syngenta acquisition, Ren Jianxin, retired last year.
Serving the beef industry for 30 years and board member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association since 1996, Jennifer Houston was named president of the organization at NCBA’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La. NCBA's new president-elect is Marty Smith from Florida and Jerry Bohn of Kansas is the newly-elected vice president.
The National Biodiesel Foundation elected Danielle Brannan, Mike Devine, and Chris Hill to its board of directors. Brannan currently serves as New Leaf Biofuel’s executive vice president and has been with the company for 8 years. Devine serves as vice president of sales and business development for World Energy, and board member of the American Soybean Association, Chris Hill, also serving as the New Uses Action Team Policy Lead for ASA.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) added Steve Sisneros and Scott Parker to their advocacy team. Sisneros was appointed the vice president of external mobilization, most recently serving as director of campaigns and voter contact for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Parker will serve as manager of rapid response, previously working as the deputy research director and assistant deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee. In addition, API promoted Bill Koetzle to vice president of government affairs. Koetzle came on in September as vice president of federal affairs.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) elected Benny Cox as president, succeeding outgoing president Mike Corn. Cox remains employed at Producers Livestock Company as the sheep and goat sales manager and has worked in the sheep and goat industry for more than 35 years. Cox previously served as past president of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers' Association. ASI also added Steve Clements, Randy Tunby, Sarah Smith, and Bob Harlan as new members of its executive board.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced that Rhea Suh is stepping down as president on June 30, after four years at the helm. The board will soon start its search for a replacement.
The National Restaurant Association appointed new individuals to its 2019 board. Joe Essa, currently president and CEO of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., will serve as Chair of the National Restaurant Association and Geoff Hill will serve as Chair of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Hill currently works as managing director of Roark Capital Group.
Hormel Foods announced the passing of Richard L. Knowlton, former Chairman of the Board, President and CEO. Knowlton first joined the Hormel team in 1954 and was named president and chief operations officer in 1979. Knowlton became CEO and chairman of the board in 1981 and retired from all duties in 1995.
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