This morning President Trump announced his intent to nominate candidates to a number of administration posts. Among them is RD James to be the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. Here is the blurb on James:

R.D. James of Missouri to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works. Mr. James has most recently served as a civilian member and engineer on the Mississippi River Commission, originally appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, where he provided water resources engineering direction and policy advice to several Administrations, Congress, and the Army for a drainage basin that covers roughly 41 percent of the United States. He is a self-employed farmer and manager of cotton gins and grain elevators in New Madrid, Missouri. Over the past 35 years, Mr. James has developed a wealth of knowledge about our nation’s critical infrastructure. He previously served as president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, he served on the board of directors and executive committee of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, the Cotton Producers of Missouri, the Board of Directors of U.S. Bank of Sikeston, and the board of directors of Osceola Products. Mr. James is the recipient of the prestigious Bronze de Fleury medal for his significant contributions to Army engineering, the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Award, and was formerly named the New Madrid County Outstanding Conservation Farmer. Mr. James received his degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky.

The Delta Farm Press reported that he addressed speculation regarding a nomination at the Mississippi River Commission’s last meeting in April.  “It took me a while to think about whether I even wanted that job or not,” James said at the time, crediting other members of the board for suggesting him as a candidate. “I’m a country boy, and I can’t imagine living up there, but, if chosen, I will, and I will do my very best.”

The past two ASA-CWs both came from a background of government service.  It will be interesting to see whether a business background changes the perspective of the office in dealing with economic development decisions which underlie much of what the ASA-CW handles.

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