Iowa Conservative Activist Nominated to Top Science Post; Questioned Climate Change in the Past

Jul 20, 2017

President Trump today nominated former Morningside College professor  and Sioux City radio talk show host Sam Clovis to the top science position at the United States Department of Agriculture.     

Appointees to Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics have traditionally held advanced degrees in science or medicine.   

Clovis holds an undergraduate degree in political science, an MBA, and a doctorate in public administration.    

He was an advisor to President Trump’s Iowa campaign, and has been an advisor at the USDA since January.        

In a 2014 interview with Iowa Public Radio, Clovis questioned the science of climate change.

“A lot of the science is junk science,” Clovis said.  "I could probably be convinced but right now I'm not."

A lot of the science is junk science. -Sam Clovis

As chief scientist at the agency,  Clovis would administer a $2 billion research program.          

Catherine Woteki, a nutrition scientist, held the job before Clovis.

"There's a huge amount of science that goes into the setting up of the programs, implementation of various policies, and the chief scientist role is to coordinate those policies across the entire department,” Woteki told the Washington Post.

In a statement, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the Clovis appointment.

"He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need,” Perdue wrote.   

The appointment requires Senate confirmation.

Clovis ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Iowa in 2014.