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U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

WASHINGTON, October 3, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

Tate Mitchell has been appointed as Chief of Staff for the Office of Communications

Tate Mitchell comes to USDA from the White House Office of the Vice President, where she served as Associate Director of Press Operations. In this role, she managed all press operations for the Vice President. Before that, Mitchell served as a Press Assistant at the U.S. Small Business Administration. She also worked on the North Carolina Coordinated Campaign, Biden for President, and Kamala Harris, For the People. Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri and is a Texas native.

Rudy Soto has been promoted to Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Congressional Relations

In his new role, Rudy Soto will be responsible for the External and Intergovernmental Affairs team, working in tandem with USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Congressional Relations, Eric Deeble. Soto previously served as USDA’s Acting Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs. Before that, he was USDA’s Rural Development State Director for Idaho since January 2021. As Rural Development State Director, Soto was instrumental in promoting economic development, increasing access to healthcare, and improving infrastructure in Idaho’s rural communities. Before that, Soto served as a legislative staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives, covering energy, environment, agriculture, and tribal affairs. Soto was born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, and is a proud member of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation and a veteran of the United States Army National Guard. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University.

Steffanie Bezruki has been promoted to Senior Advisor for the Office of the Deputy Secretary

Steffanie Bezruki joined USDA in January 2021. She most recently served as Chief of Staff for the Under Secretary of Rural Development and previously as Chief of Staff for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS). Before her tenure at USDA, she served in various leadership positions on Capitol Hill, including as Legislative Director for Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer and, previously, as Senior Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. Her policy areas of focus included agriculture, rural development, health care, and issues impacting small businesses. Bezruki is originally from Central Illinois and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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