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Thursday, October 05, 2017 1:00 am

Hoosiers approved for federal positions

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The U.S. Senate has confirmed two Indiana residents for positions in the Trump administration.

The Senate approved the nominations of Thomas Kirsch II for U.S. attorney for Indiana's Northern District and Ted McKinney for an undersecretary of agriculture. 

Each confirmation was made Tuesday evening by voice vote, which typically indicates unanimous support for a presidential nominee. President Donald Trump nominated Kirsch and McKinney in July.

Kirsch, a Schererville resident, has been a partner of the Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn LLP. He was an assistant U.S. attorney from 2001 to 2008 for Indiana's 32-county Northern District, which includes federal courts in Fort Wayne, South Bend, Lafayette and Hammond.

Kirsch replaces David Capp, who was among dozens of Obama administration district prosecutors who resigned in March at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Capp said at the time he planned to retire in June.

Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Todd Young, R-Ind., said Wednesday in a joint statement that Kirsch “is a well-qualified attorney who has garnered broad support from both sides of the aisle. He approaches the law thoughtfully and will bring a wealth of experience to this role.”

McKinney, who grew up in Tipton, has been director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture since 2014. Trump nominated McKinney for undersecretary of  trade and foreign agricultural affairs, a new post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that McKinney will “wake up every morning seeking to sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets.”

McKinney has worked for Elanco Animal Health, which is a division of Eli Lilly, and Dow AgroSciences.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced Wednesday that Melissa Rekeweg, the deputy director of the state agriculture department, has been named interim director of the agency.

bfrancisco@jg.net