Trump names Tennessean USDA general counsel

President Donald Trump has formally nominated West Tennessee native Stephen Vaden as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He’s held the position, which is subject to Senate confirmation, on an acting basis since March and was part of Trump’s “beachhead team” at USDA before that.

Vaden, who grew up in Union City, previously with the Washington branch of Jones Day, which bills itself as a global law firm and counts Donald Trump among its clients. Vaden is one of at least 14 Jones Day attorneys to take a position in the Trump administration, according to Bloomberg News in a report bearing the headline “Donald Trump’s favorite law firm.”

Vaden’s resume also includes stints as a law clerk for former U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays of Memphis and 6th U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Julia Gibbons of Memphis.

Vaden was also among five candidates mentioned as a potential successor to Mays on the federal bench. Trump instead nominated state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

He’s one of three USDA executive appointments announced Friday by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a press release Friday. Excerpt:

“Stephen Vaden has a keen legal mind, as we have already experienced through his work since he joined USDA as part of the beachhead team on day one.  He has a firm grasp of the legal issues facing American agriculture, and very importantly, understands the breadth and complexity of the regulatory burdens placed on our producers.  Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers will be well served by his counsel.

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