Biden chooses Virginia ag commissioner for deputy secretary at USDA

Two days in advance of his inauguration, President-elect Biden selected Jewel Bronaugh, the Virginia point out agriculture commissioner, as his nominee for deputy agriculture secretary, the No. 2 put up at USDA. Bronaugh was between 5 ladies who were being introduced on Monday for deputy secretaries of federal departments and would be the very first Black deputy secretary at USDA.

“Thank you @PresElectBiden for the option to market U.S. agriculture, supporting to end starvation in the United States and overseas and preserving our Nation’s purely natural resources,” said Bronaugh on social media.

The deputy secretary is in cost of day-to-working day operations at the USDA, a single of the premier federal departments with far more than 84,000 staff members throughout the nation and a budget of $150 billion a 12 months. The deputy secretary typically oversees the implementation of federal insurance policies and USDA laws.

“Progress,” stated former deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan on social media, comparing Biden nominees to the several women appointed as deputy secretary in federal departments in the previous. “Oh content #MLKDay!”

Bronaugh has been Virginia agriculture commissioner since 2018. She was condition director of USDA’s Farm Assistance Company for the duration of the ultimate decades of the Obama administration following serving as dean of agriculture at traditionally black Virginia State University in Petersburg, about 20 miles south of Richmond, the state capitol. Bronaugh has a doctorate degree from Virginia Tech.

The Countrywide Black Farmers Association said range of Bronaugh was “a historic moment” for USDA. “We hope she will use her awareness of the department to amount the participating in industry for NBFA associates as properly as other minority and small-scale farmers and to close the culture of discrimination at the USDA,” stated NBFA president John Boyd.

“Dr. Bronaugh has been a legitimate leader — advertising the agency’s core mission whilst using on new issues, which includes our COVID-19 pandemic response and farmer mental wellness, focusing financial growth to increase meals entry in underserved communities, and engaging youth in the subject of agriculture,” claimed Gov. Ralph Northam. The governor’s workplace also claimed Bronaugh served create the Virginia Meals Accessibility and Investment decision Fund Grant Software to invest in new and expanding grocery stores and food stores and guidance innovative food items retail initiatives that deal with foods accessibility difficulties in traditionally marginalized communities.

Also chosen by Biden for deputy secretary have been Elizabeth Klein at Interior, Andrea Palm at Health and Human Services, Polly Trottenberg at Transportation, and Cindy Marten at Education and learning.

Klein “is an expert leader in clear electrical power, local weather transform, and environmental regulation and policy” and who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, “advancing superior-priority initiatives these types of as Interior’s renewable power program and local weather transform adaptation efforts,” said the Biden transition.

Biden also declared Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee, as his preference to chair the Securities and Trade Commission. Presently a professor at MIT, Gensler set the Dodd-Frank economical reform regulation into impact in the futures market during the Obama decades.

“Our administration will hit the floor managing to provide speedy, urgent aid to People in america confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic financial downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate disaster and get this federal government working for the individuals it serves,” mentioned Biden.

A affirmation hearing has still to be set for Tom Vilsack, Biden’s nominee for agriculture secretary. Vilsack and Bronaugh are amongst a dozen USDA executives whose nominations demand Senate acceptance.