● Eric Cantor’s primary defeat and subsequent resignation as majority leader has set in motion a search for a new majority leader. This will almost certainly be Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican from the fruit and vegetable producing Bakersfield area. Raúl Labrador (R/Idaho) is in this leadership race, but will lose as things stand now.
Mr. Cantor’s loss has certainly delayed the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform this year, if not delivered a final knife wound to its faintly beating heart.
● Early in the month, Paul Wolfe departed the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D/Washington) for a policy specialist position with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Mr. Wolfe had worked six years for the senator, and, for most of that time, on agricultural policy issues.
● Yesterday was Brian Kristjansson’s last day as Senator Patty Murray’s state director. He will now join Rick Desimone at the Desimone Consulting Group. Senator Murray’s new state director is Mindi Linquist.
● Scott Lynch left his job on June 12 as the executive director of the United States Apple Export Council and has been replaced by Kurt Gallagher of SmithBucklin, an association management firm.
The USAEC is the export promotion group for several apple producing states, such as New York, Michigan, and California. Mr. Lynch is now the president & CEO of the American Boiler Manufacturers Association.
● Allan Mustard, who is now stationed at our embassy in New Delhi, India, as minister counselor for agricultural affairs, was nominated on June 4 by President Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan.
If Mr. Mustard is confirmed by the Senate he will be one of the few USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service career professionals to reach ambassadorial rank. For those who do not have this country front of mind, Turkmenistan contains about five million people and borders several unhappy countries including Iran and Afghanistan.