Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Senate Agriculture Committee counsel is named top Rural Development official at USDA

Anne Hazlett (Photo via University of Arkansas)
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has named Anne Hazlett, chief Republican lawyer for the Senate Agriculture Committee, to be assistant to the secretary for rural development. "The position will replace the undersecretary for rural development, a Senate-confirmed position that Perdue is eliminating as part of a reorganization of the department," Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse. "Perdue’s reorganization has come under sharp criticism from many rural development advocates and from key congressional Democrats."

Hazlett has also been agriculture director for her home state of Indiana and as chief of staff to the lieutenant governor. "In that position, Hazlett assisted in the creation of the state’s first office of community and rural affairs," Brasher notes. "Hazlett will direct all three agencies under the Rural Development mission area: the Rural Utilities Service, Rural Business Service, and Rural Housing Service."

Perdue said Rural Development programs will get more emphasis "despite not being under a Senate-confirmed nominee," Brasher writes, quoting a USDA press release: "Removing the additional bureaucratic layer of an undersecretary will allow Hazlett as assistant to the secretary to obtain ‘go’ or ‘no go’ decisions directly from Perdue without having to have ideas or suggestions passed through channels in the office."

Hazlett has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from Kansas State University, a law degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas.

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