Colo. Rep. Salazar ‘may be’ considered for Cabinet | AspenTimes.com

Colo. Rep. Salazar ‘may be’ considered for Cabinet

Colleen Slevin
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado Democratic Rep. John Salazar, one of the few farmers serving in Congress, says he may be under consideration for U.S. agriculture secretary.

Salazar issued a statement Wednesday saying, “I am humbled that I may be under consideration as a possible nominee.”

He gave no details, but said he would consider leaving his job in Congress if picked.

Salazar told The Denver Post he has spoken with members of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team but hasn’t been interviewed.

Salazar hasn’t been considered a top contender for the job. The names most often mentioned are Tom Buis, president of the National Farmers Union; former Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Texas; Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D.; former Rep. Jill Long Thompson, D-Ind.; Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff; and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, D-Kan.

Salazar, the brother of Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., has represented western and southern Colorado since 2004. He won re-election to a third term last month.

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John Salazar also served in the state Legislature.

He is a potato farmer and rancher in his hometown of Manassa in the San Luis Valley, about 180 miles south of Denver.

When Democrats gathered to nominate Obama at their convention in Denver this summer, Salazar was among those picked to address the delegates. He criticized the Bush administration for neglecting rural America and said Obama would “work hard on behalf of those who work the land.”

“As a lifelong farmer, I stand here today and look out upon a silo of hope. It’s stored up ” it’s ready for November. Ready for us to end this time of rural neglect, begin a time of endless promise,” Salazar said.

In Congress, Salazar has opposed Canadian beef imports and sponsored a bill to resume sending U.S. beef to Japan.

If Salazar were to give up his seat, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter would call a special election, spokesman Evan Dreyer said. If a senator leaves office, Ritter can pick a replacement himself.

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