Politico has a list of five top contenders for Secretary of Agriculture in a Hillary Clinton administration, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper makes the cut.
This report comes after environmentalists specifically asked that Hickenlooper NOT be considered for Secretary of Interior. That’s a post that has frequently gone to Colorado politicians, but environmentalists are particularly concerned about the governor’s close ties to the oil and gas industry because Interior regulates drilling on public lands.
Hickenlooper’s name has been floated for Secretary of Commerce and now, apparently, for agriculture, which Politico calls one of the “lowest-profile” cabinet posts.
In addition to Hickenlooper, the other potential candidates are: Blanche Lincoln, a former Arkansas senator; Kathleen Merrigan, the former deputy secretary of agriculture; Karen Ross, the current agriculture secretary of California; and Steve Beshear, the former governor of Kentucky.
Clinton has promised that half of her cabinet appointments will go to women, so whom she ends up appointing to more desirable or prominent posts could influence who gets agriculture.
The three women on the list also have long resumes in agriculture, something Hickenlooper lacks.
“That one puzzles me, because I don’t see what he brings,” one agriculture policy insider told Politico when asked about Hickenlooper. “He wasn’t mayor of Durango or Yuma or a more ag-centric place in Colorado. He was mayor of Denver, which is more and more removed from ag all the time.”
So what would Hickenlooper bring to the table?
“He listens well. He picks good people,” Ben Rainbolt, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union told Politico. “He listens to them and the issues and then makes a decision.”
But he could run into opposition from the same environmentalists who want to block him at Interior.