Two of Mr. Biden’s farm-state allies are also being discussed for the job: Heidi Heitkamp, a former senator from North Dakota, and Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor who served as agriculture secretary for President Barack Obama.
The sprawling agency oversees farm policy, the Forest Service, food safety and animal health, but also the food stamp program, nutrition services, rural housing and rural development.
More broadly, the debate illustrates the challenge Mr. Biden faces as he builds his administration.
Every appointment he makes interlocks with others, and if he does not select a diverse candidate for one position it becomes more likely he will for other posts.
And nowhere did Mr. Biden fare worse than in rural America, particularly the most heavily white parts of the farm belt.
“, Heidi Heitkamp, Tom Vilsack, Barack Obama, Biden
of Agriculture, Iowa, Forest Service
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