Eastern Washington native Brian Dansel, who resigned from the state Senate in January to take a job in D.C., has returned as the USDA’s Farm Service Agency state director in Spokane.
Dansel started the job Monday and said in an interview that he had a “wonderful” experience working for the USDA during the first months of the Trump administration. Still, he said, “it made me appreciate home more.” Dansel was one of 50 FSA state directors announced Nov. 3 by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue also named the Rural Development state directors.
FSA offices implement programs related to conservation, disaster assistance, price support, farm loans and energy. Rural Development provides loans and grants to support rural economies.
Purdue appointed a current state senator, Monroe Republican Kirk Pearson, to be Washington’s Rural Development director. Pearson was previously a House member and has been in the Legislature for 17 years. He has been chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Pearson on Monday announced he was resigning from the Senate. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.
As a resident of Republic, Dansel, 34, was elected Ferry County commissioner in 2010 and was elected to represent a rural northwest Washington district in the Senate in 2013. The district is notable for its high concentration of wolves.
Dansel left the Senate in the first weeks of the Trump administration to become special assistant to the agriculture secretary.
“I was working on all sorts of different things back in Washington, the other Washington,” he said. “Everybody I worked with or dealt with for the most part was honorable. I never had a real bad experience.”
“I was very pleased, very happy and honored to accept this job,” Dansel said. “It’s no secret this administration has a keen desire to help rural producers.”
For Oregon, Baker County rancher and natural resources consultant Peggy Browne was named FSA director. State Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, was picked as Rural Development director. Huffman has resigned from the House.
For Idaho, Bannock County Commissioner Evan Frasure will head up the FSA office. Melba farmer Layne Bangerter was named to lead the Rural Development office. Bangerter took a job in January in the Trump administration as a special assistant in the Environmental Protection Agency.
For California, Hanford farmer Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director of the California Water Alliance, was picked as FSA director. Kim Dolbow Vann of Colusa County was named Rural Development director. She has been president of the Rural County Representatives of California, an advocacy group.