Sonny Perdue (2017-2021)
George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue III was born on December 20, 1946, in Perry, Georgia. He was raised and currently resides in Bonaire, Georgia. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia in 1971. He served in the US Air Force from 1971 to 1974, attaining the rank of captain. In the 1980s, he was on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Commission. As a Democratic candidate, Perdue won election as a state senator from the 18th district in the Georgia General Assembly in 1991, 1994, and 1996.
In 1998, he switched to the Republican Party and continued to represent the 18th district in the Senate until 2001. He resigned in December 2001 to begin his campaign for governor of Georgia. He won election in 2002, and on January 13, 2003, Sonny Perdue began his term as Georgia’s 81st governor. He was Georgia’s first Republican governor since 1872. He was reelected in 2006 for a second term. In office, he worked to improve Georgia’s economy by creating jobs and attracting industries and businesses to the state. He sued the Environmental Protection Agency in 2004, to block regulations on reformulated gasoline. In 2006, he signed a law that strengthened Georgia’s restrictions against illegal immigrants. After leaving office, he founded a transportation and logistics trading company, Perdue Partners LLC in 2011.
President Donald J. Trump nominated Perdue to be secretary of agriculture in January 2017. The US Senate confirmed him by a vote of 87 to 11, and on April 25, 2017, Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture. He served as secretary of agriculture for Trump's entire term.