The Trump Administration recently appointed Colusa County Supervisor Kim Dolbow Vann to serve as the new State Director for the USDA Rural Development in California, the United States Department of Agriculture announced in a statement on Tuesday.
She will begin her new role starting on Nov. 27.
Vann said in a phone interview with the Pioneer Review that she accepted the appointment with mixed emotions. She said that while it was a tremendous opportunity, she was sad to leave her position as a Colusa County Supervisor with what she views as unfinished business, particularly with the Sites Reservoir Project.
“But when you pick up the phone and somebody tells you they have the White House on the line, what can you say?” Vann said.
Vann has served as Colusa County’s District 1 Supervisor for the past 11 years, and her current term expires in 2018. At this point, it is unclear whether a replacement will be appointed to finish out the balance of Vann’s term, or the board will operate with just four supervisors until next year’s election.
The appointment marks a significant step forward for Vann’s political aspirations. While Vann has been entrenched as a three-term County Supervisor, her sights have always been set higher: In 2012, Vann ran as a Republican in California’s 3rd Congressional District against John Garamendi and received 45.8 percent of the vote. It was the first year in which California’s Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act was in effect, and Vann received the second-most votes in the June 5 primary, outperforming three other Republicans on the ticket. Vann was included in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program, which highlighted challengers who represented the GOP’s best chances to pick up seats in the general election.
During her tenure as a Colusa County Supervisor, Vann served as the chair of the Rural Counties Representatives of California, and led the charge on all federal and state issues that affect rural counties. For the past two years, Vann has served as the chair of the Sites Reservoir Joint Powers Authority, leading the new public-private partnership in creating an aboveground water storage facility in Colusa County. That experience will serve her well in her new role, in which she will oversee Rural Development programs in a customer-focused manner to restore prosperity in rural California, the USDA said in a statement released on Monday.
On Tuesday, the board made new appointments to the various committees and groups Vann was appointed to serve on as a County Supervisor, including the California State Associations of Counties, the Colusa County Transportation and Transit Commission, the Rural County Representatives of California, the Golden State Finance Authority, the Rural Counties-Environmental Services Joint Powers Authority, and the Sites Joint Powers Authority.
“California’s rural communities are the backbone of our state’s thriving, diverse agriculture industry that helps feed the world, yet they often lack economic development opportunities,” Vann said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled to serve in this position, and will work hard to ensure rural communities, and the families, businesses and farms that call them home, have the resources they need to succeed.”
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.■