Krysta Harden has been confirmed by the Senate for the job of deputy secretary of agriculture, the second-highest position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Aug. 2, 2013)
WASHINGTON -- Krysta L. Harden, a native of Camilla, was confirmed as deputy secretary of agriculture by the U.S. Senate on Thursday evening.
Harden was nominated by President Barack Obama to take the place of Kathleen A. Merrigan, who resigned in March. The confirmation came in a voice vote by the Senate.
"I am pleased the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of my dear friend and fellow Georgian Krysta Harden to be deputy secretary of agriculture," U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, said Friday. "Krysta's leadership experience and background in agriculture have well-prepared her for this role, and USDA is fortunate to have her in this important position."
Harden had 16 years of experience on Capitol Hill, including time as staff director of the House Agriculture Peanut and Tobacco Subcommittee. She served six years as chief executive officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts, which represents the 3,000 districts tasked with carrying out natural resource management programs.
Most recently, she served as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's chief of staff. In her new job, is the No. 2 ranking official in the department.
Harden grew up on a farm in Mitchell County, giving her a perspective that -- combined with her political experience -- made her an ideal candidate for the appointment, Chambliss and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D- Albany, told members of the Senate Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry when they took up her nomination last week. The committee recommended confirmation.
Chambliss is the ranking Republican member of the Senate ag committee and its former chairman.
Harden is married to former U.S. Rep. Charles Hatcher and began her career as a volunteer in his initial House campaign in 1980. She later became Hatcher's chief of staff.