President Joe Biden intends to nominate Xochitl Torres Small as deputy secretary at USDA to replace Jewel Bronaugh, who is stepping down from the position, the White House said Wednesday. 

Torres Small, a lawyer and former congresswoman from New Mexico, has been serving as USDA’s undersecretary for rural development since she was confirmed by the Senate in October 2021. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that the selection of Torres Small "reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to rural prosperity, advancing equity, and making USDA the best place to work."

He described her as a "dedicated advocate for rural communities."

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"During her leadership, Rural Development was the first federal agency to invest Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds in physical infrastructure for high-speed internet, and the first entity to make Inflation Reduction Act funds available to drive down energy costs for farmers and rural small businesses. She has worked to foster a dedicated and diverse workforce ready to serve the American people in Rural Development offices across the country."

Torres Small, whose legal work focused on water and natural resources law, served as a field representative for then-Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and also clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Brack. She served one term in the House. 

She is the granddaughter of farmworkers and grew up in the borderlands of southern New Mexico. 

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