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News Release
  Release No. 0217.09
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  AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK NAMES ADDITIONAL STAFF AT USDA
 

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of additional people who will hold positions in the Office of Congressional Relations and the Office of Communications at the USDA in Washington, DC.

"These individuals bring a wealth of experience and energy to the department that will help fulfill President Obama's vision of rebuilding and revitalizing rural America," said Vilsack.

OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS

Jennifer M. Yezak - Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. A native of Texas, Yezak mostly recently served as a consultant to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and previously served as director of legislative and regulatory affairs at NASDA. She has also served as vice president of AgSource, Inc., as a consultant to the United Soybean Board on research and biodiesel issues, and in several agencies at the USDA in Washington, DC. Yezak also served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen and U.S. Senator Bob Krueger of Texas. At the state level, she served as administrator for commodity programs for the Texas Department of Agriculture and as a staff member for the Committee on Agriculture and Livestock in the Texas House of Representatives. Yezak is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Agricultural Education and a Master of Agriculture in Agricultural Development.

Oscar Gonzales - Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Gonzales most recently served as Associate Director of the UFW Foundation in Los Angeles, Calif., and as Colorado Latino GOTV Director for the Obama/Biden campaign. He previously served as California Director for the National Hispanic Environmental Council, where he worked on federal legislation to protect California's unprotected wilderness and wild rivers. Oscar has also worked for California Governor Gray Davis and California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Program and Training Officer for the federal Corporation for National Service and its AmeriCorps programs. Gonzales has a B.A. from UC San Diego and an A.A. from East L.A. College.

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Caleb Weaver - Press Secretary. Weaver comes to USDA from the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, where he was the Communications Director. Last year, he worked on the Obama campaign as the Montana Communications Director during the general election and in Missouri and Rhode Island during the primary. From 2000-2004, he worked for Missouri Governor, handling a variety of political and policy areas, including agriculture, environment, fish and wildlife, education, and tax policy. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a member of the Illinois Bar.

Stephanie Chan - Press Assistant. A native of California, Chan has served in numerous communications roles in the public sector. Most recently, she served as the Director of Communications for California Students for Barack Obama and as Director of Communications for the California Young Democrats. Chan is the immediate past Director of Communications for the California College Democrats and the Students for California's Future Coalition. She is a University of California, Merced transfer and is in the process of finishing up her B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.