Fresh off his re-election to the House of Representatives, Rep. David Scott, D-Georgia, is making it known he would like to become the next chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, is the current chairman, but he was defeated in his bid for re-election by Republican Michelle Fischbach.
Scott is the senior member of the committee, having served on the committee since he was first elected to Congress in 2002. He presently chairs the committee’s subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit.
Scott announced his desire to become chairman of the committee in a statement published on his website.
A portion of his announcement reads: "I was born on a farm in rural South Carolina during segregation. After my parents moved north to find work, I spent my childhood years living and working on my grandparents’ farm. The core lessons I brought from these experiences still resonate throughout farming communities today, and I have drawn upon them as I have fought to support the needs of rural and urban America. But, our farm systems have evolved and our policies must reflect and urge forward these changes. And I believe that the progress of our nation cannot be true progress if it leaves behind the most vulnerable among us. Since my election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, I have served continuously as an active member of the Agriculture Committee, representing a state whose leading industry is agriculture. I have fought hard to elevate the needs of our vulnerable communities, ensure a stable and skilled farm workforce, and invest in programs that will serve to strengthen our agriculture industry for future generations.
"However, the work of our Agriculture Committee in many ways reflects the most basic needs of our nation -- food, nutrition, and financial resources -- but also mirrors the greater movements of our time. And, amid a global pandemic, many fault lines already present in rural America have deepened. Even during years of growth, rural economies have lagged behind urban development, and the only pathway to prosperity for many of our young people drew them to seek opportunities beyond the borders of their rural towns. And now, the heavy weight of the virus has fallen on these struggling communities, as access to reliable broadband, education, childcare, and medicine are just out of reach. Rebuilding our economy must be inclusive and equitable, incorporating job growth and revitalization to strengthen our nation as a whole.
"As our nation grapples with a racial reckoning, we must ensure that racial justice and economic equality is brought forth in our farming industry. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, I was proud to secure $80 million in funding for a new scholarship program that provides educational opportunities to 1890s students and will ensure a highly-skilled food and agricultural systems workforce to the ranks alongside this generation’s leaders. Building on this progress through supportive financing and opportunities for young and beginning farmers, as well as farmers of color, can strengthen our foothold toward a more equitable agricultural America. If elected, I would approach my role as the first African American to chair the Agriculture Committee, and the first African American from Georgia to chair any Committee, with a principled focus on addressing inequities in Agriculture and advancing racial progress for all.”
The agriculture committee’s ranking member position is also up for grabs, as outgoing ranking member Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, chose not to seek re-election.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, but like Conaway, he did not run for re-election.