Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Michael Espy (1993–1994): Secretary of Agriculture

Mike Espy served as President Clinton's first secretary of agriculture from 1993 to 1994. Prior to joining the Clinton administration, Espy served as a congressman from Mississippi (1987-1993).

Espy was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in 1953, receiving his undergraduate degree from Howard University in 1975 and his law degree from the University of Santa Clara Law School in 1978.

Espy worked from 1978 to 1980 as an attorney with Central Mississippi Legal Services and held several statewide legal positions: assistant secretary of state and chief of Mississippi Legal Services (1978-1980), assistant secretary of the Public Lands Division (1980-1984), and assistant state attorney general (1984-1986).

Espy had resigned from the Clinton cabinet in 1994 under a cloud of charges that he had received favors from Tyson Foods, Inc. He was indicted in August 1997 on thirty-nine counts of corruption but was acquitted of all charges in December 1998. He currently works for the Mississippi law firm Butler Snow in its public finance and government affairs group.