February 15, 2023

Biden nominates Torres Small to top USDA role

Campaign Photo

Xochitl Torres Small

Former U.S. Representative and current federal official Xochitl Torres Small might be getting a new position.

President Joe Biden nominated Torres Small to be Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Torres Small is currently the Under Secretary for Rural Development in the same agency.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack praised Torres Small in a statement after the White House announced the nomination, calling her an “exemplary member of the USDA subcabinet.”

“During her leadership, Rural Development was the first federal agency to invest Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds in physical infrastructure for high-speed internet, and the first entity to make Inflation Reduction Act funds available to drive down energy costs for farmers and rural small businesses,” Vilsack said. “She has worked to foster a dedicated and diverse workforce ready to serve the American people in Rural Development offices across the country.”

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat, signaled his support for Torres Small as well.

“Congratulations to my friend Xochitl Torres Small on her nomination as USDA Deputy Secretary,” Luján said in a tweet. “As a granddaughter of farmworkers, New Mexico native, and dedicated public servant, she will achieve great things in this position. I look forward to working with her on behalf of New Mexico.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, also a Democrat, also praised the choice.

“President Biden could not have picked a better nominee for this important leadership role at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During her time leading USDA Rural Development, Xochitl Torres Small has demonstrated her collaborative and pragmatic approach that New Mexicans know well and appreciate,” Heinrich said in a statement. “I look forward to working in close partnership with Xochitl in this even greater role at USDA as we continue to invest in rural communities, restore our forests and watersheds, and support sustainable resilient food systems and science-based policies that conserve the long-term health of working lands.”

Ahead of her role in the Biden administration, Torres Small served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, the largely rural district that covers southern New Mexico. After losing her reelection bid in 2020, Torres Small joined the Biden administration.

If confirmed, Torres Small would replace Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh who announced her resignation last month, citing the need to spend more time with her family. Bronaugh, who is Black, was the first person of color to hold the position of Deputy Agriculture Secretary.


  • Matthew Reichbach

    Matthew Reichbach is the editor of the NM Political Report. The founder and editor of the NM Telegram, Matthew also a co-founded New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and one of the original hires at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation and formerly published, “The Morning Word,” a daily political news summary for NM Telegram and the Santa Fe Reporter.