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President Trump's visits to Siouxland

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at Morningside College in Sioux City in 2015 as Morningside professor Sam Clovis watches. President Trump this week appointed Clovis to the top science position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

WASHINGTON | President Donald Trump has nominated Northwest Iowa's Sam Clovis to a key role in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That appointment was made Wednesday, according a release from the White House press office.

Clovis, who currently serves as senior White House advisor to the USDA, was nominated as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.

The U.S. Senate must confirm Clovis before he takes the new post. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue supports Clovis' nomination.

Most previous undersecretaries for research, education and economics have had advanced degrees in science or medicine.

Before resigning last fall, Clovis was a tenured business administration professor at Morningside College. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University and a doctorate degree in public administration from the University of Alabama.

Clovis took an extended leave of absence from Morningside in August 2015 to serve as chief policy advisor and national co-chair for Trump's presidential campaign. Trump finished second in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses en route to the Republican nomination and the White House. Clovis often served as a Trump surrogate during the campaign.

Clovis did not return immediately return messages to the Journal Friday.

A political activist in Iowa GOP politics, Clovis ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary in June 2014 and then as the GOP nominee for state treasurer that fall.

The rural Hinton, Iowa, resident is also a former talk show host on Sioux City radio station KSCJ.

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County and education reporter

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