Sonny Perdue is the United States Secretary of Agriculture in the Trump Cabinet, serving since the beginning of 2017. But prior to his appointment, he was the Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011, becoming the first Republican Governor of Georgia since the Reconstruction Era.
Not unlike the rest of the president’s cabinet, his appointment to the Secretary of Agriculture has come with criticism and backlash. Earlier this month, his department changed nutrition standards in school lunches, allowing milk with added sugar, food with increased sodium, and more refined grains to be used.
“USDA is committed to serving meals to kids that are both nutritious and satisfying. These common-sense flexibilities provide excellent customer service to our local school nutrition professionals, while giving children the world-class food service they deserve,” Perdue said, claiming that the Obama administration’s standards were causing problems for schools.
He continued, “If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted. We all have the same goals in mind: the health and development of our young people. USDA trusts our local operators to serve healthy meals that meet local preferences and build bright futures with good nutrition.” But the Center for Science in the Public Interest criticized the decision and accused the department of “putting politics before children’s health.”
According to Margo Wootan, Vice President for Nutrition for the CSPI, the new rule “locks in dangerously high levels of salt and brings back more refined white flour to school meals… Nine out of ten children consume too much sodium which can raise blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension in adulthood. In fact, one in six children already have high blood pressure. Schools were on track to gradually rein in high sodium levels over ten years.”
Even during his governorship, he received multiple ethics complains from the Georgia State Ethics Commission. They found that Perdue had taken “improper campaign contributions from donors… and that he had improperly used one of his family businesses’ airplanes on campaign, for which the Commission, unusually, fined the sitting governor.” Perdue has also been involved in land purchases, selling it to developers, and landing him in hot water after he failed to disclose ownership of the property with the required financial disclosure forms.
But aside from the criticism that has come from his position, what do we know about his personal life? Do they agree with his standpoints on certain issues? Specifically, who is Sonny Perdue’s wife? Here are six things to know about Mary Ruff Perdue.
1. They met in college.
The couple met on a blind date while they both attended college at the University of Georgia.
2. They’ve been married 46 years.
They tied the knot in 1972.
3. They have four kids.
The couple are parents to four grown children: Leigh, Lara, Jim, and Dan. And they also have 14 grandchildren!
4. They’ve also been foster parents.
In 1998, the two were foster parents for eight newborns awaiting adoption through Covenant Care in Macon, Georgia.
5. They are Baptist.
The Perdue family attends the First Baptist Church of Woodstock and have taught a Sunday school class for young couples, with a focus on the importance of faith and marriage.
6. Her career has focused on helping children.
She launched the Our Children campaign in an effort to raise awareness about the need for foster care programs in Georgia and to “encourage individuals, corporations and faith-based organizations to take an active role in addressing the needs of their community.” Her personal experience was the inspiration for the initiative.
She also created the First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet, whose mission is “to stem child abuse and neglect and to promote foster care and adoption.” She’s also been a speech pathologist for public school children and a children’s ministry volunteer in her church.
Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.