WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2012 – House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., today announced four new Democratic members appointed to the Committee for the 113th Congress.

I look forward to working with these new members during the 113th Congress,” Peterson said in a statement. “Each member brings a great deal of expertise and a commitment to addressing the wide-ranging issues overseen by the Committee.”
New members joining the Committee include:

Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) – Grisham comes to Congress from the Delta Consulting Group, a small business the congresswoman-elect co-founded, which oversees the New Mexico Health Pool. Prior to that, Grisham served as Bernalillo county commissioner, as the head of the New Mexico Department of Health, and as the state’s first secretary of Aging and Long Term Services. New Mexico’s first district, which includes the city of Albuquerque, is one of the fastest growing and most prosperous areas in the Sun Belt. In the 1960s, solar energy pioneer Steve Baer founded his groundbreaking company Zomeworks inside the district.

Ann Kuster (NH-2) – Kuster comes from a long line of New Hampshire politicians, and made her name as a lawyer and staunch advocate for women’s rights. “I represented women with unplanned pregnancies from age 14 to 40, and they range from living in their car to living in the nicest neighborhoods in town,” she said of her legal work in adoption. “Unplanned pregnancy is an equal-opportunity affliction.” Kuster served as an Obama surrogate in 2008, and ran a close but unsuccessful campaign against Rep. Charles Bass in 2010. This year, she defeated Bass, becoming a member of New Hampshire’s all-female delegation.

Gloria McLeod (CA-35) – McLeod served in California’s State Legislature for six years before being elected to the State Senate in 2006. There, she held a number of high-ranking positions: she was chair of the Public Employment and Retirement (PERS) Committee, and a member of the Business, Professions and Economic Development, Legislative Ethics, and Veterans Affairs Committees. McLeod was appointed as co-chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Conference Committee just as she was elected to U.S. Congress.  The newly redistricted California 35th is a highly diverse and primarily urban section of southern California that includes sections of Los Angeles.


Filemon Vela (TX-34) – Filemon, a Brownsville native, is a lawyer who has represented a number of Texas school districts in battles for more funding. He has also represented individuals in civil cases against large corporations. His public service runs in the family - Vela’s father, Filemon, Sr., served as a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas for almost 25 years. Texas’s 34th district was created as a result of the 2010 census, and is composed of the Gulf Coast shoreline between Brownsville and Corpus Cristi.

Additional appointments will be announced in the coming weeks.


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