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Senate Confirms Dorr for USDA Post

posted on July 22, 2005

The Senate this week confirmed Iowa farmer Thomas Dorr as agriculture undersecretary for rural development after he wrote a letter of apology for insensitive remarks made four years before his nomination to his new post.

In the letter, Dorr claimed a comment he made about diversity at a 1999 meeting "was not intended to be hurtful. I now realize that to many people it has been (hurtful), and for this I apologize."

The letter was read by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., on the floor of the Senate before Dorr's confirmation. In it, Dorr apologized for praising ethnically homogenous areas and for making declarations about his farm operation that allowed him to collect unjustified farm subsidies. Those payments have been returned.

The approval breaks a long deadlock in the Senate, where Democrats used a filibuster in 2003 to initially block Dorr's appointment.

Tags: agriculture government news rural USDA