Ex-California Lieutenant Governor Under Consideration to Run Agriculture Department Is Set to Meet With Trump

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Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is seen in a file photo. (Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

President-elect Donald Trump is considering former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado to lead the Agriculture department, a move that would bring greater diversity to the Republican’s Cabinet.

Maldonado will meet with Trump on Wednesday at his Palm Beach, Fla., estate. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer noted that Maldonado, owner of Runway Vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley, comes from three generations of farmers and has “strong roots in the agriculture industry of California.”

Trump will also meet with Dr. Elsa Murano, the former president of Texas A&M; University and a former Agriculture undersecretary for food safety, in connection to the post, one of the few Cabinet positions yet unfilled.

Maldonado, 49, was once considered to be the kind of Republican who could break through the party’s struggle to attract widespread Latino support. A Santa Barbara County farmer whose parents were Mexican farmworker immigrants, he served as mayor of Santa Maria before being elected to the state Assembly in 1998.

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