White House

Trump considering California’s Maldonado for agriculture secretary

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2016 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Orlando, Fla. Donald Trump hammered rival Hillary Clinton during the campaign for failing to prevent the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya when she was secretary of state. Soon he’ll be the one responsible for protecting America’s diplomats, but he’s offered virtually no insight into how he’ll do that.
FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2016 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Orlando, Fla. Donald Trump hammered rival Hillary Clinton during the campaign for failing to prevent the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya when she was secretary of state. Soon he’ll be the one responsible for protecting America’s diplomats, but he’s offered virtually no insight into how he’ll do that. AP

President-elect Donald Trump is considering nominating former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado to lead the Department of Agriculture.

Trump and Maldonado will meet Wednesday at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, where Trump is spending the holidays, according to transition spokesman Sean Spicer.

He also is considering a trio of Texans for agriculture secretary: the state’s agriculture commissioner Sid Miller, former Texas agriculture commissioner Susan Combs and former Texas A&M president Elsa Murano. Murano also will meet with Trump Wednesday.

Maldonado, a Santa Maria native who is the son of Mexican-American farm workers, was lieutenant governor from 2010 to 2011. He was a state legislator representing a swing district and is considered a moderate.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated Maldonado for lieutenant governor after Democrat John Garamendi was elected to the U.S. House. He was defeated in the 2010 lieutenant gubernatorial race by Democrat Gavin Newsom.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for California State Controller in 2006, Congress in 2012 and governor in the 2014. In his costly challenge to Rep. Lois Capps, he was hounded by reports of a tax dispute involving a family business and struggled to overcome skepticism from some in his party who thought he was too moderate.

The secretary of agriculture oversees nearly 300,000 square miles of national forests and grasslands, the safety of food production and the food stamp program for low-income households.

Trump has yet to announce nominees for secretary of agriculture, secretary of veterans affairs and director of national intelligence, which is also a Cabinet-level position.

Alex Daugherty and Mike Doyle contributed to this report.

  Comments