WASHINGTON — Dan Glickman was handily confirmed Thursday as secretary of agriculture and pledged to get to work immediately on the 1995 farm bill.
The Kansas Democrat and 18-year veteran of the House Agriculture Committee promised to represent "all of America" and said he would be an advocate for farmers and ranchers.
"The future of American agriculture is being debated right now, and I intend to be very active in that debate," said Glickman, 50, after the 94-0 Senate vote to confirm him. He was sworn in by Deputy Secretary Richard Rominger, who has been running the department since Jan. 1.
Glickman replaces Mike Espy, who resigned last year because of favors he received from companies doing business with the department. Though nominated Dec. 28, Glickman had to wait for an exhaustive background check.
"It's good to be here--finally," Glickman told reporters, adding that he would take a common-sense approach.
"Pragmatic solutions to farm problems is what will serve farmers, ranchers and consumers better," he said.
He declined to give details about his farm policy plans.
In his statement, Glickman also announced that the department will hold six forums beginning April 17 on the state of rural America, leading up to a White House National Rural Conference in Ames, Iowa, on April 25.
"We want to hear what rural Americans have to say," he said. "We will incorporate what we hear into the Administration's proposal for the 1995 farm bill."