Two Texans have been appointed to important positions in Washington DC at the National Office of USDA’s Rural Development.
Last June Agriculture Secretary Vilsack named Tammye Trevino as Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities Programs at Rural Development. Trevino served as chief executive officer for FUTURO, an Uvalde, Texas, nonprofit organization that provides housing, business, community development and technical assistance. Before that, from 1998 to 1999, she was the economic development director for LaSalle County, Texas, where her accomplishments included the conversion a 47-county, South Texas think tank into a non-profit organization to work on regional economic development and other issues.
In May Secretary Vilsack named and Judith Canales as Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs. In 1996, Former President Bill Clinton appointed Canales as Deputy State Director for Texas Rural Development. She worked as the Acting Associate Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Service in Washington, D.C. She served as the Legislative Representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also served as the Executive Director of the International Hispanic Network, a national membership organization of Hispanic city managers, which promotes professional excellence among Hispanic executives and public managers in local government. She served as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Eagle Pass.
Texas also has a new USDA State Director. In June, President Obama named Paco Velentin as Texas’ USDA State Director. Scooter Brockette, who had served as Acting Director, resumed the role of State Housing Director.
Texas USDA has a lot of work ahead of it to restore housing programs to a priority within the state office. Texas has long lagged behind other states in getting its share of funds for both farmworker and owner occupied housing programs.
I hope that this Texas perspective within USDA headquarters, coupled with new leadership at the state office, will get housing programs, long relegated to a low priority by the Texas USDA office, will get back on course.