Changes announced for Senate, House ag committees

Larry Dreiling High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal

With the recent start of the 116th Congress, House and Senate leaders have announced the memberships of their committees.

Notable is the absence of Rep. Frank Lucas, R-OK, on the House Agriculture Committee. Lucas has served on the committee since his first election in 1994.  Lucas served as committee chair during the 2014 farm bill debate.

In an interview with the Radio Oklahoma Network, Lucas said that for the next few years he is obliged to help his party in this way to facilitate certain accommodations for his colleagues. However, Lucas assured the constituents of the 3rd District that his focus on their interests has not been lost, but will continue as he steps into his new position as ranking member on the Science, Space and Technology Committee—promising to serve agriculture in other capacities under the scope of this new assignment’s oversight.

Lucas will retain his seniority during his departure from the House Agriculture Committee, which Lucas said would be reinstated once the opportunity to return presents itself. In the meantime, this leaves House Aggies without a representative from Oklahoma for the first time in recent memory.

Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, will be given his final opportunity to serve as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, as he has announced he will not stand for re-election in 2020.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead the Agriculture Committee for another two years,” Roberts said in a statement. “We just succeeded in passing the bipartisan, bicameral 2018 farm bill, and I look forward to overseeing the Agriculture Department’s implementation.”

“I’m pleased that Sen. (Debbie) Stabenow will also continue her important role in the Agriculture Committee as ranking member. Working with Sen. Stabenow on past farm bills and various legislation in between, we have proven that we are the least partisan committee, reaching across the aisle where we can to deliver results for rural America.”

Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee include:

Mitch McConnell, Kentucky; John Boozman, Arkansas; John Hoeven, North Dakota; Joni Ernst, Iowa; Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi; Mike Braun, Indiana; David Perdue, Georgia; Chuck Grassley, Iowa; John Thune, South Dakota; and Deb Fischer, Nebraska.

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