The California EPA announced that the acting director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Teresa Marks, will retire effective immediately. Val Dolcini, new deputy secretary of agriculture, will take over as acting director.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Barry Broad to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Since 1994, Broad has been a managing partner at Broad & Gusman LLP. He has held positions with the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council and has served as the legal adviser for the Public Employment Relations Board from 1982 to 1985.

teresa marks

Teresa Marks

Rachel Cone has been selected to serve as the new coordinator of food safety programs at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). In this role, Cone will manage agreements with the Food and Drug Administration to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. Cone recently graduated from Colorado State University and has interned with the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Josie Wagler will join the International Dairy Foods Association team on June 17, as the executive assistant to president and CEO Michael Dykes and chief of staff Heather Soubra. Wagler is serving as the constituent services specialist and deputy scheduler for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Alexandra Menardy was promoted to senior legislative assistant for Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash. Menardy handles the portfolios for energy, environmental protection, and public lands and natural resources.

Jami Burgess has joined the staff of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., as the new chief of staff. Burgess previously served as the chief of staff for Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash. Heck promoted Brendan Woodbury to serve as his new chief of staff. He previously served as legislative director.

Mike Viggiano joined the staff of Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., as her new legislative assistant. He covers the portfolio for environment, labor, small business, trade, and transportation. He previously worked in the office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as her legislative correspondent and legislative assistant.

A graduate of Brown University, Charlie Andrews joined the staff of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as a deputy press secretary.

The Renewable Fuels Association added Ken Colombini to its staff as the new communications director. Colombini has been working as a freelance communications consultant since 2016. He has also served in the communications department at the National Corn Growers Association and helped create and lead the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. He also has worked at Anheuser-Busch and in the California state government as the governor’s speechwriter and as the chief communications officer for the California State Parks system.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) elected Jeremy Levin to serve as the new chair of the board of directors for the 2019-2020 year. BIO also brought on Rich Masters to serve as the new executive vice president for public affairs, effective June 17. Masters is currently serving as the executive vice president at Qorvis Communications. BIO’s current senior vice president of communications, Ken Lisaius, announced he will be departing the organization on June 14.

Jeff Harmening, chairman of the board and CEO of General Mills, will be the new chairman of the board of directors for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Harmening has served on the board since 2017 and succeeds Vivek Sankaran, who has been appointed the new CEO of Albertsons. Benno Dorer, chair and CEO of the Clorox Company, was elected to serve as the vice chairman.

Thad Cochran

Former chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Agriculture committees, Thad Cochran, passed away on May 30 at the age of 81. Cochran served in Congress for 45 years and had to resign last year due to health concerns. To read our full story, click here.

Richard “Dick” Dooley passed away May 29 at his home in Visalia, CA, three days before his 73rd wedding anniversary. He and his wife Do started farming cotton and alfalfa and later, tomatoes and walnuts. He was involved in several aspects of his community, including serving for 22 years on the Kings County Water District Board. He is survived by his wife and three children: Ag and Environmental Attorney Dan, former Congressman Cal and Cindy Bettencourt; his seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren; and countless nephews and nieces.

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