01.15.10

President To Nominate Veteran Economic Development Specialist Molly Lambert As USDA Rural Development State Director For Vermont And New Hampshire

...President Accepts Leahy’s Recommendation For Key Rural Development Post

WASHINGTON -- The White House announced Friday that President Obama has accepted the recommendation of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and will nominate veteran economic development specialist Molly Lambert to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s State Director for Rural Development for Vermont and New Hampshire.

Leahy said, “For more than two decades, Molly Lambert has invested her time and skills in advancing economic development in Vermont.  She has already cemented long-lasting partnerships around the state and across the region.  The Obama administration has recognized her leadership and community service in nominating her to this post.”

Lambert most recently served as the president of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association.  She served as Vermont’s Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development from 1998 to 2002 under Governor Howard Dean.  From 1991 to 1998, she was the executive director of the Church Street Marketplace.  She is also active in nonprofit organizations including COTS, Howard Mental Health, Chittenden County United Way, and the Greater Burlington YMCA.

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 2009, USDA Rural Development distributed almost $338 million in federal funding to Vermont and New Hampshire with Vermont receiving $131 million and New Hampshire receiving $207 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. 

Leahy applauded the work of USDA’s Rural Development office in Vermont, saying, “Vermont’s USDA’s Rural Development office, a talented team led by Acting Director Rhonda Shippee, has overseen an influx of federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The dedicated civil servants at Rural Development have helped bolster Vermont’s rural economy during these difficult times.”

As the senior senator of the President’s party, Leahy has the prerogative of suggesting candidates for this and other federal leadership posts in Vermont.  Leahy is also the most senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which has jurisdiction over USDA and its programs.

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