WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden appointed Sarah Waring to a major state leadership post on Wednesday.
She will serve as state director of rural development in Vermont and New Hampshire, a title under the aegis of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Waring replaces interim director of state Cheryl Ducharme, whom she praises.
“At the moment, it still seems a little unreal,” Waring said. “But I’m excited to be getting my feet on the ground over the next few weeks, and I’m grateful to the staff at USDA Rural Development who have done all of this work for this entire year without an appointed Director of State – especially the ‘Acting State. Director, Cheryl Ducharme, who also heads rural development business programs.
Waring, originally from Vermont, recently worked as vice president of community grants and investments at the Vermont Community Foundation.
“I have taken our work forward to help bridge the opportunity gap for Vermont’s most vulnerable,” Waring said. And she will take that mindset with her in her new role. “What I’ve seen over the years makes me believe that communities need to carve their own path to success, and they need to do it collectively. And I believe USDA RD is one of Vermont and New Hampshire’s best partners to help build this collective success.
His entire professional journey has led to this point.
“I have spent much of my professional career working on community development issues in rural areas. All of the organizations I have worked for before have crucially supported community development, functional landscapes, planning and economic development, as these are things that make our rural communities resilient, ”said Waring.
Waring has served in the western Rocky Mountains, with the Vermont Council of Rural Development, the Farm and Wilderness Foundation, and the Sonoran Institute. She also ran a nonprofit organization focused on justice.
She has big plans, but has also expressed her willingness to learn – and she intends to stay in touch with the needs of rural communities.
“For me, it will be vitally important to learn about the people, programs and priorities within USDA Rural Development,” Waring said.
She was impressed with the leadership of the department under Sec. Vilsack, and she believes in the line of work.
“Whether it’s housing, business development, community amenities, or energy and infrastructure, these are the things our rural towns need right now. But I know our communities are overwhelmed right now, responding to the influx of available resources, ”Waring said.
And she knows the whole process will involve a lot of dialogue. She sees herself as a kind of intermediary between the ministry and the people it serves.
“It will be very important for me to be a good translator and communicator outside, because I will have the opportunity to meet people on the ground and community leaders,” she said.