Passing Along Sage Insight to Incoming Secretary of Agriculture

Congratulations to former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue on his nomination to serve as Secretary of Agriculture in the Trump administration.  Multiple governors from farm states have 300px-United_States_Department_of_Agriculture,_Jamie_L__Whitten_Federal_Building,_Washington_DC_(12_June_2007)successfully served as Secretary of Agriculture and there is no doubt Governor Perdue will also be successful.

It’s Their Job To Help Him Get Things Done!

Not that I should be the one giving any advice to someone with extraordinary experiences like those of Governor Perdue, but I would like to pass along some sage insight that I received when I became a political appointee at the Department of Agriculture in 2002.   The wisdom shared with me came from a long-time agriculture industry lobbyist and that was: Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter (President George H. W. Bush Administration from 1989 to 1991) was the last Secretary of Agriculture to instruct his attorneys in the Office of General Counsel that it was NOT their job to tell him what to do, it’s their job to help him get things done. Admittedly, I did not understand the insightfulness at the time, but now after fifteen years I think I have a pretty good sense of it.

Have You Thought About Suing U.S.?

Washington, D.C. has become overly litigious. In fact litigation has become the choice strategy among constituencies in preventing, controlling and eliminating regulatory initiatives of federal agencies.  Often I share with folks a true story that happened to my client and I when visiting a federal agency (to remain unnamed).  We met with a Deputy Administrator of the agency expressing our grievance that the agency was not moving fast enough in completing required environmental policy regulations that evaluate the environmental, social and economic effects of their proposed actions, known as National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The response we received from the Deputy Administrator was, “Have you thought about suing us?”

Legal Reform – Regulatory Reform; You Cannot Fix One Without Fixing The Other

As much as we need regulatory reform in the U.S., I am skeptical that it will be achieved in the Trump era because, as they are soon to find out, litigation will ensue and bottleneck any progress. The fact is before any meaningful regulatory reform can be achieved legal reforms must be achieved.  You cannot fix one without fixing the other.

I wish much success to former Governor Sonny Perdue and hope passing along the sage insight that I was thankful to receive helps in some way.

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Tim Cansler