Senate confirms key Biden nominees

In recent weeks, the Senate has confirmed the appointments of key administration posts for President Joe Biden.

Michael S. Regan, North Carolina, was confirmed to be Environmental Protection Agency administrator with bipartisan support.

Regan was sworn in as the 16th administrator of the EPA on March 16. On his first day, Administrator Regan committed to working closely with and supporting EPA’s dedicated career public servants, restoring the role of science and transparency, addressing climate change, and prioritizing environmental justice.

“I’m grateful to President Biden for entrusting me to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at this critical moment in our country’s history,” Regan said. “EPA’s career officials are the backbone of this agency, and I am humbled to work alongside them as we confront climate change, stand up for justice and equity, and ensure science is at the heart of our decision-making. We will prove that environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand in hand—and we will seize this opportunity to create a healthier, more just future for all."

Prior to his nomination as EPA Administrator, Regan served as the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Deb Haaland, a former congresswoman from New Mexico, was confirmed by the Senate and become the 54th secretary of the Department of the Interior, and sworn in March 19.

“At my confirmation hearing, I said that we all have a stake in the future of our country. No matter your political party or ZIP code, your ancestral heritage or income level, we all must take the formidable challenges that lie ahead seriously, and we will take them head on, together.”

Katherine Tai was confirmed on a 98-to-0 vote to be the United States trade representative and began her duties March 18. She previously served as America’s chief enforcer against China’s unfair trade practices.

During her testimony before the Senate she noted it was important that trade policies advance the interests of all Americans, she said, and policies that support American innovation and enhance competitive edge.

“That’s why I will make it a priority to implement and enforce the renewed terms of our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico,” Tai said. “Too often in the past, Congress and the administration came together to finalize and pass a trade agreement. But then other urgent matters arose and we all moved on. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a uniquely bipartisan accomplishment that must break that trend. It represents an important step in reforming our approach to trade. We must all continue to prioritize its implementation and success. We must continue to pursue trade policies that are ambitious in achieving robust, bipartisan support.”

Native Oklahoman Janie Simms Hipp has been nominated by Biden to serve as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She grew up in southeast Oklahoma and received her law degree from the University of Arkansas. She served within the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office and advocated on behalf of farmers and ranchers. She has taught agricultural law and policy, and her career has spanned over 35 years. She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced several key appointments for senior positions in Washington, D.C.

Sandra Eskin was named deputy under secretary for food safety. Eskin previously served as project director for food safety for The Pew Charitable Trusts where she served as the project director for Food Safety. Prior to joining Pew, she was a public policy consultant to consumer and public interest organizations, providing strategic and policy advice on a range of consumer protection issues, including food safety, dietary supplement safety, and food and drug labeling and advertising.

Eyang Garrison was named chief of staff in the office of the deputy secretary. Prior to joining USDA, Garrison served as the deputy chief of staff and legislative director to Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio. She previously held various roles at USDA, including program analyst for the food and nutrition service and legislative analyst in the Office of Congressional Relations. Garrison has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Jeremy Adamson was named policy advisor for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the Foreign Agricultural Service. Most recently, Adamson served as portfolio manager for Certis USA. Previously, he held roles in account management and market development with Corteva Agrisciences and worked as a crop consultant and plant health and nutrition specialist with Nutrien. He is a native of Merrillville, Indiana, and graduated from Purdue University with bachelor’s degree from the college of agricultural economics.

Edyael Casaperalta was named senior policy advisor for the Rural Utilities Services agency. Casaperalta is an attorney who has supported indigenous and underrepresented communities in telecommunications matters. Most recently, she served as ACI project manager for AMERIND where she supported the company’s efforts to bring high-speed broadband to Tribal Nations, businesses and communities. She is from Elsa, Texas.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].

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