12.16.21

Leahy Announces Nomination Of Vermonter To Serve As Northern Border Regional Commission Co-Chair

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says he is proud to announce that a longtime member of his staff, Chris Saunders, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as the co-chair of the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Leahy said:  “I am proud of Chris, who I count among my most long-serving and valued staff.  Chris has worked hard for Vermont and the nation in both Vermont and Washington, and this appointment is wonderful news for the entire Northern Border Region.”

The Northern Border Regional Commission is a partnership between the states of Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and New York which promotes community and economic development along the border between the United States and Canada.  In Vermont, the Commission, which Leahy has championed, supports projects across the entire state. The NBRC was authorized in 2008 and funded with $1.5 million for the first time in Fiscal Year 2010.  Due to its great success in providing economic development support in northern New England, the budget and scope has grown, and in fiscal year 2021 reached $30 million.   The 2021 budget included $4 million to address declining forest-based economies, $5 million for broadband initiatives, and $1 million for state capacity building grants.  Additionally, the FY21 Appropriations Act provided $1.5 million for the Commission to help combat opioid abuse disorders and $1 million to provide technical assistance, coordination of care, and investments in the social determinants of health all aimed at strengthening rural healthcare.  Many of these funding streams would not have been possible without the hard work of Saunders while on Leahy’s staff.

A Burlington resident, Saunders has served on Leahy’s staff for nearly two decades.  First in Washington, where he held a variety of legislative roles, focusing on health care, housing, education and domestic appropriations.  For the past decade, he has been a member of Leahy’s Vermont office as a Field Representative, where he has engaged with Vermont communities on community and economic development, transportation, and telecommunications policy.

A Middlebury native, Saunders attended Bowdoin College.

The NBRC supports Vermont projects as diverse as museums, railway stations, and water and wastewater infrastructure.  The impact of the Commission, with Saunders at the helm, will continue to increase with an additional $150 million provided to supplement annual appropriations over the next several years through the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  A NBRC grant is often the catalyst that enables communities to begin projects and attract funds from additional sources.   The NBRC is well-positioned to continue to be a major factor in the economic revitalization of the region.

The White House announcement follows, BELOW --

 

The White House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 15, 2021
 
President Biden Announces Key Nominees and an Appointee to Board and Commission Roles

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key roles: 

  • Chris Saunders, Nominee for Federal Co-Chair of the Northern Border Regional Commission
  • Corey Wiggins, Nominee for Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority
  • Summer Mersinger, Nominee for Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Caroline Pham, Nominee for Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Edward Gabriel, Nominee for Member of the United States Institute of Peace Board of Directors
  • Nathalie Rayes, Nominee for Member of the United States Institute of Peace Board of Directors
  • Mary Swig, Nominee for Member of the United States Institute of Peace Board of Directors

In addition, the President has appointed Glenda Glover as Vice Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Chris Saunders, Nominee for Federal Co-Chair of the Northern Border Regional Commission

Chris Saunders has served for nearly two decades on the staff of United States Senator Patrick Leahy. For the past decade, he has been a member of Senator Leahy’s Vermont office as a Field Representative, where he has engaged with Vermont communities on community and economic development, transportation, and telecommunications policy. From 2002 to 2011, Saunders held a variety of legislative roles in the Senator’s Washington D.C. office, focusing on housing, health care, education, and domestic appropriations.  An avid hiker, skier, and angler, Saunders was raised in Middlebury, Vermont, attended Bowdoin College, and currently resides in Burlington, Vermont with his wife and two children. 

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