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A service for agriculture industry professionals · Friday, May 27, 2022 · 574,288,193 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

Alexis Taylor, Nominee for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture

WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his administration:

  • David Pressman, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Hungary
  • Heide B. Fulton, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay
  • Calvin Smyre, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
  • Yohannes Abraham, Nominee for Representative of the United States of America to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
  • Stacy Dean, Nominee for Under Secretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Alexis Taylor, Nominee for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Laura D. Taylor-Kale, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy
  • Rubydee Calvert, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Andrew G. Biggs, Nominee for Member of the Social Security Advisory Board

David Pressman, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Hungary

David Pressman is the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs.  At the United Nations, Pressman represented the United States on the United Nations Security Council and led U.S. negotiations on a range of threats to international peace and security, with a particular focus on issues involving Europe, Russia, East Asia and the Pacific, and Africa.  Earlier, Pressman served at the Department of Homeland Security as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, at the White House as Director for War Crimes and Atrocities on the National Security Council, and at the Department of State as an aide to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Pressman is currently a partner at Jenner & Block LLP where he represents clients in national security and human rights related litigation. A prominent international human rights lawyer, Pressman has held leadership roles in multiple nonprofit organizations committed to advancing international human rights and is the past co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Law Committee.

Pressman received his Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law.

Heide B. Fulton, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Heide B. Fulton, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).  In this capacity, she is responsible for State Department programs combating illicit drugs and organized crime, as well as support for law enforcement and rule of law in the Western Hemisphere and INL’s global aviation program.  Before that, she served as Director of the Office of Mexican Affairs.  Previously, she led the U.S. Embassy in Honduras as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affairs a.i.  Fulton served overseas in Afghanistan, Ecuador, Cambodia, and Manila.  Her Washington assignments include serving as the Director of the Main Press Office, Pearson Fellow in the Office of Senator Robert Menendez, Press Advisor for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Fulton served on active duty as a Quartermaster Officer with the U.S. Army in Europe.  She returned to active duty as a Civil Affairs Officer to deploy to Iraq, where she served as the Senior Multi-National Force – Iraq Liaison Officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq in Baghdad.  She retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2020 after 28 years of service.  A native of New York, she has a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Troy State University.  She speaks Spanish.

Calvin Smyre, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Calvin Smyre has served for 48 years as an elected Representative in the Georgia State Assembly, and was Chairman of the Democratic Caucus within the Assembly for over a decade and still serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Caucus. He is the ‘Dean’ of the Georgia House of Representatives and serves on the Appropriations, Rules, and Higher Education Committees.  Smyre is President Emeritus of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), and a member of the National Conference of State Legislators. In the private sector, he served for almost four decades as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Synovus Financial Corporation. He represented Synovus on the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington D.C., and was the President of the Synovus Foundation.

Smyre served on the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Georgia Foundation; the Morehouse School of Medicine; the Jack D. Hughston Foundation and the Fort Valley State University Foundation as its Chair.  Smyre earned his B.S. from Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia and has received over 200 local, state and national honors and awards. In 1985 and 2005, he was selected by his peers as the National “Legislator of the Year.”

Yohannes Abraham, Nominee for Representative of the United States of America to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Yohannes Abraham currently serves as Deputy Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff, and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council.  Prior to this, Abraham served as the Executive Director of the Biden-Harris Transition, where he managed day-to-day operations and oversaw the national security, economic, and domestic policy and personnel teams. During the Obama-Biden administration, Abraham served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council, as well as Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Abraham has also worked in the Vanguard Group’s global investment unit and served on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. A native of Springfield, Virginia, Abraham holds a BA from Yale College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Stacy Dean, Nominee for Under Secretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Stacy Dean was appointed by President Biden to serve as the Deputy Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services where she works to increase nutrition assistance for struggling families and individuals as well as tackling systemic racism and barriers to opportunity. Prior to joining USDA, Dean served as the Vice President for Food Assistance Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). She directed CBPP’s food assistance team, which published frequent reports on how federal nutrition programs affect families and communities and developed policies to improve them. In addition to her work on federal nutrition programs, Dean directed CBPP efforts to integrate the delivery of health and human services programs at the state and local levels. Before joining CBPP, she worked as a budget analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.

Dean earned her B.A. and master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.

Alexis Taylor, Nominee for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Alexis Taylor serves as Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), having served since her appointment by Oregon Governor Kate Brown in December 2016. As Director, Taylor works to promote and regulate agriculture and food, always keeping ODA’s mission to ensure healthy natural resources, environment, and economy for Oregonians now and into the future at the forefront.

Prior to her appointment as Director of ODA, Ms. Taylor oversaw the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS). While traveling the world, she worked to open new markets and improve the competitive position of U.S. agricultural products in the marketplace. Before joining USDA, she worked for several Members of Congress, staffing members from Montana and Iowa. Taylor is an Iowa native, who moved to Oregon after working 12 years in Washington D.C. focused on U.S. agricultural and trade policy. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and grew up on her family farm in Iowa, which has been in her family for more than 160 years. While still in high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. During her junior year in college her army reserve unit was deployed to Iraq, where she served one tour with the 389th Combat Engineer Battalion. While no longer an active reservist, Taylor continues to advocate for veterans.

Laura D. Taylor-Kale, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy

Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale serves as the Fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where she researches and writes about strategic innovation, industrial policy, and the changing nature of work, and contributes to CFR’s Renewing America Initiative.  From 2017-2018, she was an International Affairs Fellow at CFR and the Deputy Director of CFR’s independent task force on the future of the U.S. workforce.  From 2014-2017, Taylor-Kale served in the Obama-Biden Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing in the International Trade Administration, and as the Senior Advisor for Policy and Operations at the U.S. Development Finance Corporation. Taylor-Kale joined the Obama-Biden Administration from the World Bank, where she held positions as an advisor to the U.S. Executive Director on the boards of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation and as an advisor to the Bank Group’s Vice President for sustainable development and climate change.  From 2003-2012, Taylor-Kale was a career State Department Foreign Service Officer, with diplomatic postings in Afghanistan, India, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

Taylor-Kale holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and anthropology from Smith College, a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, a Master of Business Administration from the New York University’s Stern School of Business, and has earned a Ph.D. in management science and engineering with a specialization in Organizations, Technology, and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University’s School of Engineering.  Taylor-Kale is a native Midwesterner and resides in Washington, DC.

Rubydee Calvert, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Rubydee Calvert began her service on the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2018. Calvert was elected to the Board for America’s Public Television Stations in 2017. Calvert, a long-term Wyoming resident, retired from Wyoming PBS in 2015, where she served as the General Manager of the station and also President of the Wyoming PBS Foundation for ten years. Prior to becoming General Manager, she was the Director of Programming and Production for 24 years, leading the station’s production team to produce three of the station’s signature series: “Main Street, Wyoming”, “Capitol Outlook,” and “Wyoming Chronicle”. She also served as Executive Producer and Producer on a number of documentaries that aired locally in Wyoming and nationally, as well as numerous public affairs forums and election debates.

Her other board service includes serving two terms on the national PBS Board, a term on the Wyoming State Board of Education, two terms on the Riverton Memorial Hospital Board, and six years as an officer and board member of Riverton Rotary, of which she is still a member.  More recently she has served on the Board of Trustees for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and currently serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation. Ms. Calvert has three children, Chad, Kara and Christopher, and 6 grandchildren; she currently has her own property management business in Riverton, Wyoming, and assists in management of several family businesses.

Andrew G. Biggs, Nominee for Member of the Social Security Advisory Board

Andrew G. Biggs is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits. Before joining AEI, Biggs was the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. As an Associate Director of the White House National Economic Council in 2005, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public versus. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue-ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future. In 2014, Institutional Investor Magazine named him one of the 40 most influential people in the retirement world. In 2016, he was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the financial control board overseeing reforms to Puerto Rico’s budget and the restructuring of the island’s debts.

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