White House Names Thomas Williams PA Rural Development Director

From the White House:

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2008 – The Obama Administration today announced that Thomas Williams will serve as Pennsylvania State Director for Rural Development at the USDA.

“Thomas William will be an important advocate on behalf of rural communities throughout the state and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Williams is currently the District Projects Director for Congressman Paul Kanjorski. He works with local government agencies to help communities and businesses throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania obtain access to funding for development projects. Previously, Williams ran a family restaurant and also served as the Executive Director for the Department of Community Development for the City of Nanticoke. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Bloomsburg University and a bachelor’s from Wilkes University. Williams is actively involved in nonprofit community economic development efforts.

Rural Development administers and manages over 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs as laid out by Congress through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of over $114 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture and natural resources and touches the life of every American. Reflecting President Obama’s commitment to expanding economic opportunities in rural America, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the USDA are working to enhance availability of broadband, promote the development of renewable energy, to conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment, and promote a sustainable, safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply.

Congressman Kanjorski issued this statement:

“I want to commend President Obama for choosing Tom Williams for this important position, and I am sure that Tom will prove himself more than capable of fulfilling the President’s mission, as he has been an integral part of my Congressional staff for the past thirteen years.  It is only because of my strong belief in what President Obama wants to accomplish for this country that I would consider willingly giving up Tom’s service in my office.

“I have known Tom since long before I was elected to Congress.  Tom and I learned together how to maximize the use of federal resources for the City of Nanticoke, when I was acting solicitor and he was the director of community development thirty years ago.

“As a member of my Congressional staff, Tom has been a key player in many projects that are close to my heart, including multiple flood control projects such as the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project; land reclamation and infrastructure improvement projects; and countless sewer and water projects throughout the 11th Congressional District.

“His assistance with these projects and many others has been invaluable to my efforts and to the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  His familiarity with the programs and services provided by the Rural Development Administration makes him ideal for the position of Pennsylvania State Director for Rural Development, and I wish him all the best in his new role.”

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