WASHINGTON – John Norris was named USDA chief of staff and Carole Jett deputy chief of staff on Jan. 23 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"This is the first step in the process of quickly building a team of diligent, competent, and inclusive leaders to complement the excellent career staff already in place," Mr. Vilsack said.

Since 1995, Mr. Norris has been chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board, and he served as Governor Vilsack's first chief of staff in 1999. He also served as Senator John Kerry's Iowa Caucus Campaign Manager and as National Field Director for the Kerry-Edwards Campaign. He was the Democratic nominee for Iowa's Third Congressional District in 2002.

Ms. Jett recently left federal service after 33 years to participate on the Obama Agriculture campaign team in Indiana and served as Co-Lead of the President's Transition Team USDA Agency Review Group. She served as Farm Bill Coordinator for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service prior to her retirement. Previously, she led the NRCS 2002 Farm Bill implementation effort and served on assignment with the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.