Jan 18, 2011
11:35 AMThe Wind Machine
Quiet Flows the Potomac
● Last week while I was in Washington, D. C., members of the 112th Congress, still in the midst of getting organized under a new majority, were chilled both by the cold winter temperatures and the attack in Arizona on one of their colleagues. While I think the use of reckless, incendiary language will be tamped down for some time, spirited partisan arguments over important policy issues will not be stilled. The atmosphere on Capitol Hill will warm, quickly re-heated (but I hope not over-heated) by such friction, which is at the heart of a healthy, functioning democracy.
● With international trade policy being important to the tree fruit industry, it was good to see Congressman Dave Reichert (Washington/R) appointed to the Trade Subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Committee. This committee is the gatekeeper for such market-opening activity as the proposed free trade agreement with Korea.
● Capitol Hill staffers who lost their jobs with the last election are on the hunt for new employment: one success story on this front is Hadley Sosnoff, who was legislative director for the defeated Congressman Walt Minnich (Idaho/D), and now is with the American Nursery & Landscape Association as its new director, government relations.
● A capable person who brought the perspective of West Coast agriculture to the highest political ranks of USDA is leaving the federal capital for a state capital, Sacramento. Karen Ross was appointed last week by Governor Jerry Brown as secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She leaves her current position as chief of staff to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Prior to serving in Washington, D.C., Ms. Ross had been president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, where I first came to know her during the last Farm Bill debate.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “Did you tell lots of people—did you blog about—your New Year’s resolutions? [The novelist and essayist, Daniel] Akst knows why you didn’t: ‘self-control fatigue,’ which is as American as microwaved apple pie.” George F. Will, The Washington Post, January 6, 2011.