The Center for Rural Affairs Board of Directors has granted an unpaid leave of up to 10 months for executive director and long-time staff member, Chuck Hassebrook, to run for public office.
Hassebrook was granted the leave in a vote that had no dissenting votes. His leave will begin March 1.
The Center Board voted to implement a succession plan previously developed by Center board and staff and tapped Assistant Executive Director Brian Depew to fill the role of Acting Executive Director. Depew will assume the interim position on March 1, 2012.
Hassebrook, a Democrat, will run for the U.S. Senate, seeking the seat currently held by Democrat BenNelson, who is not seeking a third term.
"I am running for United States Senate because it is time to make government work again. It is time to make government work for ordinary Nebraska families and create a better future for our children and our grandchildren," Hassebrook said during his announcement.
"As board president, I have every confidence in our staff's ability to keep the Center and our work for rural America moving forward," said Jim Knopik, Fullerton, Neb., farmer and Center Board President. "I've seen many changes at the Center since I first became a supporter 14 years ago. I can tell you the Center continues to be in a strong position – now as much as ever."
According to Knopik, Hassebrook has been with the Center for 34 years and was named Director in 1996, serving in that capacity for the last 16 years.
"Chuck has guided us through thick and thin. He has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of rural Americans," Knopik continued. "I know I speak for my fellow board members when I say thank you Chuck, for all you've done."The Center for Rural Affairs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.