Now It's Time to Get Down to Business

Faith Grant's picture

The marathon election of 2012 is officially over.  On the all-important Agriculture Committees, leadership posts will likely remain unchanged, barring any surprise power plays.  Current Senate Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) won re-election in a tight race with 58% of the vote.  Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS), who was not up for re-election, will likely keep his second-in-command post on the committee.  In the House, Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) won his eleventh term with a resounding 75% of the vote and will most certainly retain the chairmanship.  Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) returns for his twelfth term with 60% of the vote and will also continue to lead the Democrats in the second spot on the House Agriculture Committee.  

So, the morning after is looking like more of the same in Washington, for better or worse, depending on your expectations of what the next four years would (or should) look like.  The big wins in the Senate overall and for Chairwoman Stabenow in Michigan in particular took the drama out of the Ag Committee guessing game.  And with President Obama winning so decisively, it’s more probable that the top USDA spots will remain unchanged as well:  Secretary Tom Vilsack and Undersecretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan have been loyal stewards of President Obama’s ag agenda, and Obama is likely to reward them with another term—if they’ll have it.  Certainty in politics is an elusive prize, and the only thing guaranteed is still death and taxes.  

Without a doubt, significant hurdles remain for advancing organic priorities in 2012 and the congress to come. Sometimes less change equals more hope.  But, this is hardly a time for a sigh of relief.  We have our work cut out for us.


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