(Feb. 3) One of several new faces in Republican Party leadership, Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., has been named the Policy Committee Chairman for the Republican Party in the House of Representatives.

Putnam’s rise to a party leadership position is good news for the fruit and vegetable industry, observers said.

Putnam comes from a citrus background in Florida and is familiar with industry issues, said Chris Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash.,

“He is a guy that knows our industry as well as any member of Congress,” Schlect said Feb. 2.

Mike Stuart, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland, said Putnam, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, has a citrus and cattle background but is a quick study on all of agriculture. He said Putnam could help articulate industry needs on immigration and other issues.