Senator Carper Speaks on Senate Floor on the Nomination of Xochitl Torres Small For Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) spoke on the Senate floor to advocate for the confirmation of Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small to serve as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, she is the Under Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development at USDA, and has previously represented New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read Senator Carper’s remarks as prepared below and watch the full floor speech here.

This is a big deal. And as it turns out, the Administration has given us a terrific nominee. The Department of Agriculture plays a critical role in ensuring that people from every corner of this country have something to eat – hopefully something nutritious to eat – and also to help us with respect to farming, agriculture, the farming economy, public health, broadband and a whole lot more.

And the role of the Deputy Secretary of the Department is a big deal – a very big deal. It requires someone who is diligent, requires someone who is sharp, and requires someone who ultimately understands the Department. It’s a big department. […] I know that Under Secretary Torres Small possesses all of those qualities, and a whole lot more.

In her current position, as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development, she has been involved with every function of the Department, including overseeing the deployment of two billion dollars for rural broadband that was secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that we passed here by almost a unanimous vote more than a year ago. This month, we saw states across our country receive this significant funding to expand broadband access for literally millions of people in many parts of our nation – rural parts of our nation – including Delaware’s own Sussex County.  

Prior to serving with the Department of Agriculture, Under Secretary Torres Small has had a history of serving her country. She was a United States Representative for New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, where she grew up as a granddaughter of farm workers. And as a U.S. Representative she served as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, among other committees. And she previously spent time on the ground in New Mexico as a field rep for our old friend and colleague Senator Tom Udall, who’s now the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand. But Xochitl is also an accomplished attorney, practicing water and natural resources law and served as a former clerk in the U.S. District Court for a fellow named Judge Robert C. Brack.

All of these experiences help make her well suited to take on the role of Deputy Secretary, because I know that she understands our nation and understands this on a human level as well. That was made especially clear during her nomination hearing. Under Secretary Torres Small spoke of her goals to better communicate through the role of the Department across our country, so that the programs are deployed more efficiently more effectively, and more humanely. She also highlighted how she will work to support underserved producers and small farmers by raising awareness of the federal resources that they may be eligible for.

I strongly urge our colleagues to confirm Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small as the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Agriculture. She will make us proud, she’ll make New Mexico proud, she’ll make our country proud.