After nearly two years since being elected, President Obama has filled the Domestic Policy Council position of advisor on agriculture and rural affairs. David Lazarus, who has been serving on the staff of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at USDA, assumed that post this week.
An Illinois native, Lazarus served as Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin's, D-Ill., agricultural legislative assistant prior to becoming part of Obama's rural outreach team during his presidential campaign. After the election, Lazarus joined the transition team before moving to USDA.
"In his role as special assistant and senior advisor, Lazarus has been the food safety go-to guy in the office of the secretary and has been the lead Vilsack staffer on Obama's interagency Food Safety Working Group," said Steve Kopperud, executive vice president at Policy Directions and founder of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. "Lazarus will do just fine. As the Farm Bill discussions ramp up, he's going to be a very popular guy, particularly if this President keeps talking about local marketing networks and broadband access rather than keeping farmers solvent."
While in Durbin's office, Lazarus helped write Senate Bill S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. A key component of the President's Food Safety Working Group recommendations, the bill has been stalled in the Senate for several months.
"We have had the pleasure of working with David both in his capacity as a Hill staffer and as a member of Secretary Vilsack's staff," said Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union. "He is a incredibly talented, and we look forward to working with him in his new position."
To learn more about David Lazarus visit Holly Spangler's blog.