In September, I began my new job as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment. I am grateful to Secretary Sonny Perdue for entrusting me with this important office and to the Senate for confirming me. It’s a real pleasure to be back working again with so many friends and colleagues.
Many of you know me, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll tell you a little about my background.
I grew up in rural Kansas working the land. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management from Colorado State University. After a year in Oregon’s old growth, I served Colorado for over 34 years. I was Colorado State Forester from 1984 to 2004, and I worked closely with the National Association of State Foresters and the Council of Western State Foresters.
From 2004 to 2005, I was the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination in the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 2006, I accepted a position with the Forest Service as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, where I served until my retirement in 2016.
Now I am delighted to be back working with the Forest Service. As Under Secretary for NRE, my job will be to support the Secretary, the Department, and the Administration in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of the nation’s natural resources. The Forest Service is a huge part of that, and I have the greatest respect for Forest Service employees and for the fine job you do on behalf of the people we all serve.
I worked closely with Interim Chief Christiansen during my time as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, and she has my full confidence and support. I vigorously champion the Stand Up for Each Other initiative, because each and every Forest Service employee deserves a work environment that is free from bullying and harassment of every kind, where everyone gets the respect and appreciation they deserve for the work they do.
Please know that I will do all I can to ensure your success in the delivery of our mission in a safe and respectful work environment. Know as well that I have a deep, personal commitment to our mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Editor's note: You must be logged into Facebook in order to watch this video.