Several Western officials have been appointed by President Joe Biden to top positions in the USDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Maria Gallegos Herrera, the daughter of San Joaquin Valley farmworkers who was Gov. Gavin Newsom's regional director of external affairs, was named USDA's state director of Rural Development.
Former Seattle Deputy Mayor and King County Chief Operating Officer Casey Sixkiller was appointed as the EP'A's regional administrator for Region 10, which covers the Pacific Northwest. And former school official Joy Kono was named executive state director of the USDA's Farm Service Agency in Hawaii.
Before joining Newsom's administration in 2019 as deputy regional director of external affairs, Herrera served as a Community Development Manager at Self-Help Enterprises, a nationally recognized community development organization dedicated to working with low-income families to build and sustain healthy communities. She also held positions at the Community Water Center and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Throughout her career, Herrera has tackled water contamination and shortages, improved access to government, and worked to create resilient and sustainable communities through relationship building, community organizing, advocacy, legislation, and technical assistance, the White House stated.
Herrera also served on the California Water Commission from 2015 to 2019 and was the recipient of the 2019 Rachel’s Network Inaugural Catalyst Award.