Incoming N.J. Agriculture Secretary Former Supermarket Owner

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Incoming N.J. Agriculture Secretary Former Supermarket Owner

The state of New Jersey will soon have a new Secretary of Agriculture, replacing retired Secretary Charles Kuperus.

South Jersey Assemblyman Douglas Fisher (D-Bridgeton) was chosen by the state Agriculture Board after a 6-2 vote in his favor. Gov. Jon Corzine has recently endorsed Fisher, which almost assures he will take the post, even though state officials still have to vet Fisher, who plans to resign his assembly seat to take the post.

Fisher comes to the position with a great deal of experience in agriculture and food retail. He owned a rural supermarket and served as the chairman of the state legislature's Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Many farmers, according to published reports, expect Fisher to be friendly to farmers.

Corzine recently tried to eliminate the state's Agriculture Department but was thwarted in his efforts by a grass-roots campaign of farmers and lawmakers. However, the department's budget was reduced.

Fisher will work to maintain full funding for the Agriculture Department and to promote New Jersey products. "It's important that 'Jersey Fresh' has a place on our (grocery) shelves, not just at farm stands," he was quoted in the Cherry Hill, N.J. Courier Post.

Corzine, meanwhile, praised Fisher's political prowess. "He has character, knowledge, and the ability to deal with the political process that invariably comes with this territory," said Corzine. "I am thrilled to support him and you have made a great choice. There is no one who will work harder, and Doug is a man who knows how to get things done. You will be very happy with his appointment."