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Rauner appoints farmer to head department of agriculture


Governor Bruce Rauner appoints a longtime Republican state representative, Raymond Poe, of Springfield, to head the state's agriculture department.  Rauner promised early on that he'd appoint a farmer to head the department of agriculture; here he is last December, at the Illinois Farm Bureau's annual meeting.

"Thanks to hard working farmers Illinois' economy has come through very difficult times and I look forward to being a strong advocate for farm families and farmers here in Illinois going forward in future years."

Rauner's first pick for ag director was a farmer. But Philip Nelson, who came to the job after serving as the president of the farm bureau, resigned after in late September, less than a year into the job.

Rauner's second choice is a farmer too, though Poe has also served in the Illinois House since 1995.   That could help him navigate the mechanics and relationships of government bureaucracy, as the state's in unprecedented territory. Illinois' never gone so long without a budget.

Poe had been in the early stages of running for re-election; now Republicans will have to field someone else to campaign. Petitions are due at the end of the month.

In a statement, the farm bureau's current president, said of Poe that "we are confident that his door will be open to discussing the many difficult challenges that face agriculture and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.”