The Department of Agriculture doubled its number of Senate-confirmed nominees Thursday.

Jewel Bronaugh was confirmed by the Senate a voice vote, officially making her the first woman of color to serve as USDA’s deputy secretary. Bronaugh, who has been serving as Virginia’s ag director, advanced through the Senate Agriculture Committee Monday following an April confirmation hearing. 

In a statement, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack hailed Bronaugh's previous accomplishments and said he was "grateful" to see her confirmed.

"She speaks respectfully of producers and rural Americans, and believes that as a public servant, her job is to find a way to help those who need it," he said. "I look forward to working with Dr. Bronaugh to ensure USDA lives up to its calling as the People’s Department, to be a Department that serves all people equally and fairly.”

In a joint release following her vote, committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and John Boozman, R-Ark., both praised Bronaugh’s confirmation.

“I look forward to working with her on a number of key priorities,” Stabenow said. “I know she’ll do an excellent job.” 

For his part, Boozman said he was “proud that we have taken the historic step of confirming the first African-American woman to serve as deputy secretary at USDA.”

Her extensive experience shows she is more than capable of handling the significant responsibilities that come with the role,” he added. “Deputy Secretary Bronaugh is positioned for success at the department, and I look forward to working with her to help meet the needs of our farmers, ranchers and foresters.”

Bronaugh joins Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack as one of two Senate-confirmed officials at USDA. A handful of other nominees are awaiting committee consideration: Robert Bonnie, the pick for undersecretary for farm production and conservation programs, Janie Hipp, nominated to be USDA general counsel and Jenny Lester Moffitt, the nominee to head up USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs mission area

Story updated at 7:35 p.m. EDT to include Vilsack statement. 

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