Michigan's Racing Commissioner Takes Fed Job

Resignation effective July 3.

The Obama administration says it's named Michigan Racing Commissioner Christine White as state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.

White also served as state Farm Service Agency executive director from 1995 to 2000.

White’s resignation, effective July 3, comes at a time when state funding for Michigan racing has been slashed, including cuts to the cost of operating the commissioner’s office. Financial woes in Michigan led Gov. Jennifer Granholm to slash the remainder of the 2009 budget for the Office of Racing Commissioner from $3.8 million to $1.4 million. Funding for programs such as breed development and purses comes from the budget.

In response to the cuts, White issued an order slashing the 2009 live race dates at the state’s racetracks. The order eliminates a total of 101 live racing days at Pinnacle, Mt. Pleasant Meadows, Hazel Park, and Northville Downs through Sept. 30, the end of the 2009 fiscal year. Pinnacle will lose 42 of its 82 scheduled days, less than originally planned but enough to drive some horsemen to tracks in other states.