Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Johanna Kichton, 240.206.1145,

Press Release

Democrats Will Continue to Lose Rural Voters With Vilsack Appointment


People’s Action Director George Goehl today released the following statement in response to media reports that President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Tom Vilsack as Secretary to the Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“Representative Fudge would have been an outstanding Secretary of Agriculture. In his previous stint as Secretary of the USDA, Tom Vilsack missed the mark in big moments to stand for racial justice. The President-elect had the opportunity to show that he does not reward such failures. Instead, the incoming administration passed on a highly qualified Black female legislator to choose more of the same.

“Vilsack’s USDA had a troubling track record on racial justice. During his previous tenure, the department foreclosed on Black farmers after they complained about discrimination and whitewashed USDA’s record on civil rights. He kneecapped Shirley Sherrod when white supremacists in the alt-right media published a hit piece on her, leading to her resignation.

“Vilsack also failed to live up to his promises to take on corporate agriculture. He appointed Monsanto-connected executives before jumping ship for a lucrative lobbying post.

“Vilsack then led Biden’s unimpressive rural campaign in 2020.  As far as I can tell, our organization made more calls to convince rural voters to vote for Biden than the Biden campaign did for itself. If Democrats keep letting people fail upwards like this, they will never stop the bleeding. By 2040, the more rural half of this country could control 84 Senate seats. How does permanent majority leader status for the head of the Senate Republicans sound to you?

“We need a USDA Secretary on the side of everyday people who rely on the department in rural, urban, and suburban communities. Instead, we’re getting a revolving-door appointment. If this is not the fox guarding the henhouse, it’s pretty damn close.

“Rep. Marcia Fudge would have been a historic first at USDA—a secretary on the side of everyday people, not corporate agriculture lobbyists. Appointing Vilsack at her expense is a terrible decision.”


People's Action

People's Action builds the power of poor and working people, in rural, suburban, and urban areas to win change through issue campaigns and elections.

Sinema Op-Ed Defending Senate Filibuster Slammed as 'Delusional'

Rep. Mondaire Jones said Sinema is effectively arguing that "we should let Republicans destroy democracy now because at some indeterminate time in the future they may try again."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·

Progressives Say 'Do What the People Want and Tax the Rich' to Pay for Infrastructure

"It is obvious that if we're going to address the needs of working families in this country, we need revenue," says Sen. Bernie Sanders, "and one way that we get that revenue is by demanding that the wealthiest people, the largest corporations are paying their fair share."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Doctors Without Borders Calls on BioNTech to Share Vaccine Tech With World

"The faster companies share the know-how, the faster we can put an end to this pandemic."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·

Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001

"As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·

Sunrise Ends 400-Mile Climate March With Arrests at Ted Cruz's House

The Gulf South marchers demand that Congress and the Biden White House pass bold climate jobs legislation, including a bill to create a Civilian Climate Corps.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·