State representative appointed to rural development post
State Representative Ryan McMullen took the oath of office July 15, for his role leading the Obama administration's rural development efforts in Oklahoma. Late last month, McMullen's appointment was announced by United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"Ryan McMullen will be an important advocate on behalf of rural communities throughout the state and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success," Vilsack said.
McMullen's service as State Director of USDA Rural Development makes him the nation's youngest appointee to such a post within the United States Department of Agriculture.
He spent the previous five years representing a region of rural southwest and central Oklahoma in the State Legislature. This area includes the four counties of Washita, Kiowa, Caddo, and Canadian. It is one of the top agricultural production regions in the state.
"I've been blessed with a very rewarding position of leadership for the past five years," McMullensaid. "While I'll always look at this legislative work with pride, I believe leading our rural development efforts will make an even larger contribution."
McMullen takes the reigns of the three agencies that comprise USDA Rural Development: Rural Housing Service, Rural Business Service and Rural Utility Service. Combined these agencies administer over 50 programs that offer a variety of direct loans, guaranteed loans, and grants to rural communities, businesses and residents. USDA Rural Development maintains a nationwide portfolio of $114 billion.
"Rural Oklahoma faces a great many challenges. We're here to partner with those rural communities, businesses and residents to create opportunities out of those challenges," McMullen told his staff and the small crowd that gathered for the Wednesday morning ceremony at the USDA Rural Development State Office in Stillwater, Okla.
Prior to beginning his federal service, Representative McMullen submitted a letter of resignation to Governor Brad Henry. The letter expressed McMullen's interest in continuing to work with the governor on issues facing rural Oklahoma and became effective July 15, at 8:00 a.m.
"My relationships and experience in the State Legislature will be invaluable as I begin my leadership at Rural Development," said McMullen. "We'll be creating and maintaining many partnerships as we press forward with our mission of securing and improving the quality of life for rural Oklahomans."