WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2016 - Roberts and Vice President-elect Mike Pence discussed possible options for agriculture secretary and undersecretary positions when Pence attended the GOP senators’ weekly luncheon on Tuesday.  

Roberts, R-Kan., wouldn’t disclose any of the names that came up, but he did say that he wants to see a nominee with broad knowledge of USDA as well as with managerial experience. Chuck Conner, a former acting agriculture secretary in the George W. Bush administration and now president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, would fit that description. Asked about Conner as a possible nominee, Roberts would only say, “I’m not going to get into any names, but experience does count.”

An announcement may not come until next week, Roberts said. Pence “was imprecise. I dont think he knows at the present time precisely when that decision will be made.”

Roberts also said he impressed on Pence the need for Trump to talk about agriculture. “We had a good discussion. He gets it,” Roberts said.  “Im looking forward to probably a closer relationship and a more timely relationship than weve had to date.”


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