Secretary Vilsack Visits Las Vegas Elementary School, Meets RPN Staff 

Secretary Vilsack and RPN staff in Nevada

Rural Partners Network Community Liaisons have a wide variety of responsibilities, from helping communities identify and access federal funding opportunities to preparing an elementary school for a visit from the Secretary of Agriculture.

Southern Clark County Community Liaison Elias Askins, III and Southern Nevada Community Liaison Jacqueline Cashmere were in attendance for Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack’s Tuesday visit to the Elaine Wynn Elementary School on March 12. They welcomed the Secretary and USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Executive Staff to Las Vegas, who were visiting to highlight USDA FNS nutrition initiatives in Nevada.

“It was very exciting to meet Secretary Vilsack,” Cashmere said. “For him to say that the work we’re doing is important, and that he’s proud of it, is incredibly meaningful for me to hear in my second year as a Community Liaison.”

The Secretary then toured a hydroponics classroom and school garden before speaking with a variety of Nevadan stakeholders on the topic of child nutrition. 

Beyond highlighting FNS initiatives, Secretary Vilsack that week also announced a $772,000 investment in the water and wastewater system of the Yomba Shoshone Tribe at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Reservation Economic Summit. The new water tank, water lines, fire hydrants, and other improvements will provide the community with clean drinking water and safe and sanitary wastewater systems. The project is being financed through the Water and Waste Facility Loans and Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands Program.

“This is my third time attending an event Secretary Vilsack spoke at,” Askins said. “And I feel very optimistic about the direction of the USDA. The Secretary expressed his full support in how the mission is being carried out in the midst of various challenges. He also expressed pride in staff efforts to ensure the well-being of rural America.”

Secretary Vilsack was one of the primary architects for the USDA-led Rural Partners Network, announcing it in April 2022. Speaking in Georgia, Secretary Vilsack said “The Rural Partners Network will help communities get funding for investments that create long-lasting benefits for their communities, especially those that have been overlooked in the past. By providing one-on-one support to these communities, we can lay the foundation for people to build healthy, successful futures on their own terms.”

Community Development

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