WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today named John Norris as his chief of staff and Carole Jett as deputy chief of staff. "This is the first step in the process of quickly building a team of diligent, competent, and inclusive leaders to complement the excellent career staff already in place," Vilsack said.
John Norris has been chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board since 2005 and served as Governor Vilsack's first chief of staff in 1999. He served as Senator John Kerry's Iowa Caucus Campaign Manager and as National Field Director for the Kerry-Edwards Campaign. He was the Democratic nominee for Iowa's Third Congressional District in 2002.
Norris is a graduate of Simpson College and the University of Iowa Law School. He also served as state director of the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition in the mid-1980's. He is married to Jackie Norris, who serves as Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. They have three sons.
Carole Jett recently left federal service after 33 years to participate on the Obama Agriculture campaign team in Indiana and served as Co-Lead of the President's Transition Team USDA Agency Review Group. She served as Farm Bill Coordinator for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) prior to her retirement. Previously, she led the NRCS 2002 Farm Bill implementation effort and served on assignment with the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.