Rep. Fudge, a longtime member of the House Agriculture Committee, chairs its subcommittee overseeing USDA operations.
Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge says it is time that the list of cabinet positions African Americans are deemed skilled to run gets expanded with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.
“As this country becomes more and more diverse, we’re going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in,” she told Politico. “You know, it’s always ‘We want to put the Black person in labor or HUD.’”
Fudge, the congresswoman from Ohio’s 11th District since 2008, is pushing to be named the next Secretary of Agriculture.
“I’ve been very, very loyal,” she said. She noted that a major force behind the success of the incoming administration was Black women.
“We need to start to look outside of the box and, as they have promised, a cabinet that is representative of this country as well as representative of the people who have supported them,” Fudge added. “I think it’s a natural fit.”
Fudge is highly-qualified for the role. She is a longtime member of the House Agriculture Committee and is also chair of the Nutrition Subcommittee, which provides oversight over USDA operations.
Former Mississippi Rep. Mike Espy was the first African American to be Agriculture secretary, serving during the Bill Clinton administration. Espy recently lost a Senate bid against Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is seen as a front-runner for the role in the Biden administration. However, some progressives worry that she will favor the interests of big business at the department.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus support Fudge as USDA head and are reportedly building support to see her named to lead the agency. Fudge — who supported Harris in her presidential bid and later supported Biden — has said she will continue to support the party, no matter the outcome.
Some of her career achievements include a successful pushback against the Trump administration’s efforts to cut the food stamp program. Further, she supports working with the USDA on climate and water conservation issues.
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