LAS CRUCES – Former New Mexico Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small was confirmed by the Senate Thursday night as the next Deputy Secretary for Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
USDA Rural Development provides loans, grants, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to support essential aspects of American rural communities, including business, economic development, infrastructure, housing, first aid services and equipment, and Healthcare.
Torres Small was confirmed by unanimous consent on October 7. The request was brought by New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Luján.
“Xochitl Torres Small is a New Mexican-born and a dedicated public servant who will make a real difference in the lives of rural Americans at the Department of Agriculture,” Luján said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Under Secretary in this new role where we can work together to serve farmers, ranchers and rural communities in New Mexico and across the country.”
Torres Small, a Democrat from Las Cruces, served as a representative for the 2nd Congressional District of New Mexico for a single term from 2019 to 2021, during which time she spent about a year on the House Agriculture Committee. The district, which encompasses all of southern New Mexico, is now represented by Republican Yvette Herrell, who defeated Torres Small in the 2020 election.
“Throughout his career, Torres Small has used his experience of organizing in vulnerable rural communities to make sustainable investments that tackle persistent poverty,” the White House said in a statement following his appointment to the post by the President Joe Biden.
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“His experience and dedicated, pragmatic approach to public service will be incredibly valuable as rural communities across the country recover from the pandemic, diversify their economies and build long-term sustainable growth,” said Senator from New Mexico Martin Heinrich. said in a statement. “I congratulate Xochitl and look forward to working with her to advance key investments in rural economies, including the universal deployment of broadband, affordable housing, clean water and clean energy infrastructure, and the help for small business owners.
Torres Small did not immediately return a request for comment.