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Washingtonians are still talking about the phenomenon commonly referred to as "Middle America." This is the vast expanse of geography between the coastal metropolises where folks feel ignored and forgotten. Rural economies continue to decline, small town businesses falter, factories shutter, hospitals close, schools consolidate and younger generations move away. Middle America's citizens turned out to vote for change and against the status quo. They voted not so much as Democrats or Republicans but as a common populace looking for hope and opportunity right where they are.

The Trump Administration aims to tackle some mighty big problems and quickly seize on some long-awaited opportunities. These include repeal, replace and transition the Affordable Care Act, control illegal immigration, reform the tax code, renegotiate trade agreements, rebuild the nation's infra-structure, and reduce federal regulations. National Grange policy is strong on all these issues which will require considerable time and attention from Grange leadership and staff. To accomplish most of these fetes, the President will have to enter uncharted territory for him...negotiations with Congress. While the President can implement some of his agenda by executive action, the heavy lifting on major issues cannot happen without Congress.

The President's choice for Secretary of Agriculture, Georgian Sonny Perdue, has good support on both sides of the political aisle and should be easily confirmed. Following Perdue's confirmation, the Deputy Secretary appointment should come down rather quickly but this position also requires Senate confirmation. Chances are good the Deputy Secretary candidate could come from either California or the Midwest. Nine Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary appointments, all requiring Senate confirmation, will follow. But don't expect USDA appointees to be in place any time soon. They're caught in a FBI background check logjam that's government-wide. The full regiment of top-tier leadership at USDA may not be in place for several months and could stretch well into summer.

**This taken from parts of the National Grange Legislative update.


The election is over, hallelujah!! The inauguration is upcoming of President Elect Trump. Congress is at recess. The only news coming out of Washington is the process of Trump filling his cabinet positions. I know many of us have mixed feelings about the election and I believe the key to a successful Trump presidency is the quality of his advisors. Whether you like him or not, he is deserving of our support. Wanting him to fail would be a lot like wanting the pilot to crash the plane that we are all riding on. I, for one, am willing to give him my support. In four years I may have a different opinion but the democratic system works and will continue to work. No judging can take place yet, he hasn’t even taken office. For now, we’ll just keep riding the plane….