California native named as new FSA administrator

Juan Garcia replaced by Val Dolcini to direct implementation of farm bill program rollout.

Val Dolcini has been named by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to serve as the next administrator of the Farm Service Agency, replacing Juan Garcia who announced his retirement earlier this month.

Dolcini currently serves at the California state executive director of the FSA. He was appointed by President Obama in 2009, and served in the same position under President Clinton. In 2011, he served as the acting FSA Administrator in Washington, DC prior to Garcia’s appointment.

Oscar Gonzales Jr., Vilsack’s current deputy chief of staff, returns to California to serve as the FSA executive director.

“Both Oscar and Val bring a wealth of experience to their new roles and I am pleased that rural America will continue to benefit from their leadership,” Vilsack said in a letter to USDA staff regarding the announcements.

Prior to Dolcini’s FSA appointment, he worked for a Fortune 500 technology consulting firm and served on the staff of the California Governor, California Lt. Governor, and two California members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A fifth-generation Californian and Yolo County native, Dolcini received a B.A. in History from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. He also attended the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He currently serves on the San Francisco State University Foundation Board of Directors.

Gonzales previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Relations and as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Gonzales served as Deputy Appointments Secretary to former California Governor Gray Davis. He also served on the staff of California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, and in a wide range of community organizing roles. Gonzales was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from East L.A. College and a Bachelor of Arts in political science at the University of California, San Diego.

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