Rep. Raymond Poe named state agriculture director

Republican state Rep. Raymond Poe was named Friday to be the new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Poe, 71, of rural Springfield, said he will start the job Monday.

"I'll definitely miss (the legislature), but I think it's a lot easier moving up to an agency director rather than moving out of a home," Poe said. "This isn't total closure yet because I'll still be working with the legislature."

Poe has been in the Illinois House since 1995. He's a member of several key committees, including Agriculture and Conservation, Higher Education Appropriations, and Personnel and Pensions. He is also the ranking Republican member of the Business and Occupational Licenses Committee.
A lifelong farmer, Poe fits Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's criterion that the agency's director be someone with direct agricultural experience. The last director under former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, Robert Flider, did not have an agricultural background.

Poe said the monthslong gridlock over a new state budget didn't influence his decision to take the job.
"I've been here 21 years, and it's time to move on," he said. "It's time for new blood, young blood."
State Journal-Register has the story.