New USDA executives for nutrition, marketing, and rural development

The administration also announced that David Grahn would serve as principal deputy general counsel in the USDA’s legal shop, the Office of General Counsel.

The Biden administration announced the appointment of three USDA deputy undersecretaries on Thursday: Stacy Dean for nutrition, Justin Maxson for rural development, and Mae Wu for marketing and regulatory programs. Deputy undersecretaries are typically second in command to the sub-cabinet officers who oversee the USDA’s seven operating wings.

Before joining the USDA, Dean was vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank. “She joined the Center in 1997 and has deep experience understanding the delivery of health and human services programs at the state and local levels,” said the USDA. Dean was an analyst in the White House budget office before working at the CBPP.

Mason, the new deputy undersecretary for rural development, was executive director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which works to alleviate poverty in the South. “We recognize poverty is complicated and multifaceted,” said the foundation. Previously, Maxson was president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, based in Berea, Kentucky. Now called the Mountain Association, the group says it “invests in people and places in eastern Kentucky to advance a just transition to a new economy that is more diverse, sustainable, equitable, and resilient.”

Wu was a senior director for health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, before joining the USDA’s marketing and regulatory arm. A one-paragraph NRDC biography says, “Since joining NRDC in 2006, Mae Wu has focused her legal advocacy on getting toxic chemicals out of consumer products and strengthening the regulation of pesticides.”

The administration also announced that David Grahn would serve as principal deputy general counsel in the USDA’s legal shop, the Office of General Counsel. Grahn was among six appointees named late Thursday, including Matt Herrick as the USDA’s director of communications.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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