Friday, March 27, 2009

Just in from Washington

1st District Congressman Walt Minnick--Putnam photo
Minnick announces nominations for USDA positions

Washington– Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick will recommend two Idahoans to key positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Minnick will recommend to the President Barack Obama that Richard “Dick” Rush be appointed Idaho director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. Minnick will also recommend that Walter “Wally” Hedrick be appointed state director of the USDA Rural Development Agency.

“Our open application process resulted in an outstanding pool of interested, qualified Idahoans for these two positions,” Minnick said. “I am deeply appreciative of the citizen committee members who worked together to review the applicants and help me make these recommendations. I’m also appreciative of my fellow members of the Idaho delegation for their insight into Idaho’s past and future needs for these two positions.”

Earlier this year, Minnick appointed a committee to review all those who applied for the two USDA positions. The committee members selected Bruce Newcomb, a former Idaho State Representative and State Speaker of the House of Representatives, to be the chair.

“I was honored to be asked by Congressman Minnick to help with selection process,” Newcomb said. “He made good choices, and our committee was honored to serve this state in helping this process move forward.”

Minnick lauded the hard work and careful process which led to this result.

“I could not be more pleased with the process, and I could not be more pleased with these recommendations,” Minnick said. “I think Dick Rush and Wally Hedrick will make Idaho proud, and will help get our economy on the road to recovery.”

There are two other appointee positions in Idaho for which President Obama has sought Minnick’s recommendation: U.S. Marshal and U.S. Attorney. Those recommendations will be announced next week.

Dick Rush
Dick Rush was born and raised in Idaho, and his parents still live on the family farm near Moscow. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho with a degree in agricultural economics and holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of California at Davis.

Dick has served as Administrator of the Idaho Wheat Commission, Director of the Idaho Department of Agriculture under two governors and State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. He also managed a 6000-acre dry land farm and livestock operation in north Idaho, owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Idaho.

Besides a distinguished career in government, Dick has held management positions with Boise Cascade Corporation, Basic American Foods and served as Vice President of Natural Resources for the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. He also served as CEO of the American Red Cross for Greater Idaho.

Dick is currently a member of the Idaho Soil Conservation Commission and a Supervisor of the Ada Soil and Water Conservation District. He is a member of the Idaho Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR).

Dick lives in Boise with his wife Nancy. They have three married children: Kelly, Leslie and Ben, and four grandchildren.

Wally Hedrick
Wally Hedrick is a third generation Idahoan who has spent most of his professional career in the private sector as a successful businessman.

He attended the University of Idaho and graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno with a degree in renewable natural resource management. He has a master’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Northern Colorado.

He has deep roots in rural Idaho having been raised in the farming business with all its hardships and challenges. He spent 17 years with Resources Northwest, Inc., and as president of that firm helped create natural-resource marketing and management programs for cities, counties, state governments, private companies and education institutions.

In 1989, then-Gov. Cecil Andrus appointed him as the first director of the Idaho Lottery and served the people of the state in that capacity for six years, generating millions of dollars for Idaho public school and buildings before departing the Lottery to return to the private sector.

Wally has served on the board of the Boise Family YMCA, and served on the Meridian School Board from 1985 to 2000. He continues to serve as Chairman of the Meridian Technical Charter High School.

He is also the owner of a hay and cattle ranch in the Magic Valley.

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