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USDA Deputy Secretary confirmed

By: Sydney Sheffield

Xochitl Torres Small has been confirmed as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Torres Small was nominated by President Joe Biden in February for the position. Torres Small has a law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and an international baccalaureate from Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa.

She previously served as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development and was a United States representative for New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district. During her time as a representative, she served as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and as chairwoman of the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee. Torres Small was the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s second congressional district.

"Xochitl Torres Small has dedicated her career to serving the agriculture industry and the American people, and I have witnessed her lead with energy, authenticity, and personal investment that I know will leave an impact on USDA for years to come,” said USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release.

As Under Secretary for Rural Development, she oversaw loans and grants to provide infrastructure improvements, business development, affordable housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal, and high-poverty areas. During her leadership, USDA Rural Development secured $2 billion to support rural broadband through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“At this critical time when USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are laser-focused on mobilizing historic investments to rebuild our economy and secure healthier, more vibrant communities for future generations, I am grateful to have Xochitl’s partnership at the helm of the People’s Department. She has time and again met the moment with a collaborative approach and a can-do spirit, and I applaud Congress for confirming her as USDA’s next Deputy Secretary,” Vilsack continued.

Torres Small’s nomination was applauded by many in the country. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation's oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, was a large supporter of Torres Small’s nomination and is pleased to see her sworn into office. "LULAC strongly supports the confirmation of Torres Small at a time when our nation's agricultural industry is dealing with the historic effects of climate changes," said Domingo Garcia, LULAC's National President.

“My mission is to serve the people of USDA every single day,” Torres Small said while being sworn into office. “I’m thrilled to get to work on behalf of the people of the people’s department.”