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Exclusive–Rep. Tim Huelskamp: I’d Be Honored to Run USDA for Trump

The Kansas congressman who lost his August primary to a challenger backed by the House Republican leadership told Breitbart News Monday that he is ready to lead the Department of Agriculture if asked by President-elect Donald J. Trump.

“As a fifth-generation farmer, I’d be honored to use my business background, education and legislative experience to reform the USDA for President Donald Trump,”said Rep. Timothy A. Huelskamp (R-Kansas).

“With a $150 billion budget, nearly 100,000 employees and a presence in almost every county, real change at the USDA can be a catalyst for making America great again. And doing so requires a Secretary with a proven drive to challenge the status quo,” he said.

The congressman said he has been in discussions with the Presidential Transition Team about leading USDA, but he said he would not reveal more than that given the confidential nature of the process.

Washington conservatives have been rallying around the Kansas conservative as the transition process enters the final stretch.

Adam Brandon, the leader of FreedomWorks, the Washington-based policy and logistics hub for Tea Party and other conservative activists, called on President-elect Donald J. Trump to appoint outgoing Huelskamp his secretary of Agriculture.

“There is no one better suited to serve as the next secretary of Agriculture than Representative Huelskamp,” said the FreedomWorks CEO. “He understands the needs of America’s farmers, but he also realizes the failures of prevailing agriculture policy that prevails in Congress.”

Huelskamp, who chaired the Tea Party Caucus and was a member of the House Freedom Caucus, lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee after he voted against Speaker John A. Boehner (R.-Ohio) during the House Republican Conference internal nominating process after the 2012 elections. Then, the revolt against the Ohioan was still a fringe movement. Boehner’s punishment made him the first congressman from Kansas-1 not to sit on the Agriculture Committee in 100 years. After Boehner resigned from his speakership in September 2015, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) wooed Huelskamp and the Kansan supported Ryan for Speaker in October 2015. After he took the gavel, Ryan placed Huelskamp on his Steering Committee, which decides committee assignments inside the House Republican Conference, but Huelskamp never made it back on the Agriculture Committee.

Brandon said Huelskamp is the perfect choice.

“Farm bills passed by Congress promote a culture of cronyism and corporate welfare that must end,” Brandon said.

“Representative Huelskamp stood up to these big government policies, and the Washington political elite sought a pound of flesh,” he said.

In addition to his growing up on a farm and his congressional experience, Huelskamp also earned a PhD from American University in agricultural policy and legislation, he said.

“Picking Huelskamp to serve in this role would be yet another sign that President-elect Trump will ‘drain the swamp’ and promote a common sense agriculture policy,” Brandon said.

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