Leahy Taps Veteran Economic Development Specialist Molly Lambert As USDA Rural Development State Director For Vermont And New Hampshire

(THURSDAY, April 9) -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is recommending veteran economic development specialist Molly Lambert to President Barack Obama as his choice to be the USDA’s State Director for Rural Development for Vermont and New Hampshire.

The senior senator of the President’s party recommends candidates for this and other federal leadership posts in his or her home state, subject to approval of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the President.  Leahy also is the most senior member of either party on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, And Forestry, which has jurisdiction over USDA and its programs.

USDA’s Director for Rural Development each year oversees the investment of tens of millions of dollars in each state to promote and support rural economic development, through loans and grants to individuals, organizations, businesses and communities.  In 2008, USDA Rural Development distributed almost $200 million in federal funding to Vermont and New Hampshire with Vermont receiving $90 million and New Hampshire receiving $109 million.  These programs range from direct mortgage assistance to income-eligible homebuyers, energy efficiency grants to businesses making energy improvements, water and wastewater improvement grants and loans to communities and much more.  For more information, visit USDA Rural Development's Vermont and New Hampshire webpage at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt/.

Lambert, who lives in Swanton, has a long record of leadership on economic development in Vermont.  She was Vermont’s Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development from 1998 to 2002 under Governor Howard Dean.  Before that she was executive director of the Church Street Marketplace from 1991 to 1998, and she currently is president of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association.  She has long contributed her talents to such nonprofit organizations as COTS, Howard Mental Health, Chittenden County United Way and the Greater Burlington YMCA.

Leahy said, “Molly Lambert has been a pillar of economic development in Vermont for two decades, and now she will be able to turn her talents exclusively to the challenge of economic development in our rural communities.  She knows the value of building strong partnerships, and she will bring to this job the values of competence, leadership and community service that the Obama Administration is restoring to government service."

Lambert will be charged with leading the organization as it receives an influx of federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

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