Days before his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump has yet to nominate an agriculture secretary – the final member of his Cabinet and a crucial piece for Central San Joaquin Valley business interests.
Trump has been pushed to nominate a Latino and raise the diversity level of his key staff and advisers. According to Politico, there’s a last-minute push for former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a native of Santa Maria.
The case for Maldonado, who was lieutenant government under Arnold Schwarzenegger and served previously as a state senator and assemblyman, gained traction over the weekend, but it was unclear whether he had gathered enough political steam to pass the top contender, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Trump also has interviewed a trio of Texans – the state’s agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller; former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs; and former Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano.
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Latinos have served in Cabinets since Ronald Reagan tapped Lauro Cavazos for secretary of education in 1988.
“It’s very risky to think you know anything, because you don’t,” John Block, a member of Trump’s agriculture advisory council, told Politico. “We don’t know anything.”
Transition spokesman Sean Spicer has been asked several times about the timing of the final nominee, but he has not announced any schedule.