USDA Calls Social Justice Advocate for New Role | 2021-03-31

WASHINGTON – A former Goldman Sachs vice president and social justice advocate has been appointed as assistant secretary of administration at the US Department of Agriculture.

Oscar Gonzales, who previously held a number of USDA Under Secretary Tom Vilsack positions in the Obama administration, was appointed on March 29 by President Joe Biden.

“Oscar has dedicated his life and career to fighting for disadvantaged and marginalized communities, said Mr. Vilsack. “He grew up in a working class family in East Los Angeles and worked at almost every level of food and agriculture – from working on a horse farm to serving at the highest levels of leadership. in state and federal government.

“With Oscar’s leadership and a team that reflects the diversity of our country behind him, the USDA is committed to ensuring equity throughout the department, eliminating systemic racism and discrimination, and removing barriers to access to USDA programs. ”

Mr. Gonzales, a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and East Los Angeles College, has a long history of working at the federal and state levels to advocate for social justice for underserved and marginalized communities by putting the emphasis on Hispanic communities. He worked for the United Farm Workers Foundation for several years. His wife, Christine Chavez, is the granddaughter of American labor and civil rights legend Cesar Chavez.

In the Obama administration, Mr. Gonzales held a number of high-level positions at the USDA, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Senior Advisor on United Nations Reform. immigration to Secretary Vilsack.

Previously, Mr. Gonzales oversaw FSA programs in 58 counties in the nation’s largest agricultural producing state, California, as executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Prior to entering public service, Mr. Gonzales worked with various nonprofits including the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Building Up Los Angeles, the Corporation for National Service, the California Community College Foundation, the National Hispanic Environmental Council. , the East Los Angeles Residents Association, and the UFW. Foundation.

In his most recent role, Mr. Gonzales worked for Goldman Sachs where he held the title of Vice President of Government Relations for Western States.

Previously, he was vice president of community and government relations for Aura Financial, a CDFI-certified financial technology company disrupting the predatory lending industry with loans that helped low-income people.

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