Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suggested at a campaign stop Saturday that he would move part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Iowa if elected to the White House.
The GOP presidential candidate said at a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa that under his administration, he would be “laser focused” on returning power to the states, including potentially moving agencies out of the nation’s capital to states. He said that Iowa could be the new home to the USDA if elected president.
“A number of people said that they don’t like USDA, Washington bureaucrats interfering with how people are farming, and they would much rather have this agency be run with people from their own communities,” he said.
“We will answer the call and what people suggested here in Iowa, you guys will have first dibs on the Department of Agriculture,” he added. “We’ll send it to Iowa, and you guys take care of it.”
He also reiterated his campaign promise to slash the size of federal agencies by 50 percent. DeSantis has repeatedly vowed to eliminate several federal agencies and move several of them out of Washington, D.C.
The Florida governor has said that he plans to reduce the size of the agencies by 50 percent through layoffs, transferring employees out of D.C. and through attrition after people retire.
DeSantis has also projected confidence for his campaign in Iowa as the state caucuses approach in a little over a month. He said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he is “going to win the caucus,” adding that he expects the GOP primary field to narrow by then.
A late October poll by Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa found DeSantis tied for second place with former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who surged 10 points since August. Forty-three percent said former President Trump was their first-choice candidate, giving him a 27-point lead over his closest challengers.
DeSantis secured a key endorsement last month from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who had previously said she would stay neutral in the 2024 primary. He also kept his promise to visit all 99 counties in Iowa — a milestone known as the “full Grassley.”