Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today rural economic development veteran, Tony Preite of Havre, has been appointed by the White House to serve as Montana State Director for USDA Rural Development. Preite will begin work at USDA Rural Development's state headquarters on May 5th, 2013.
Baucus and Tester recommended Preite to the White House following a statewide call for job applications from Montanans interested in promoting rural economic development.
"My number one, two, and three priorities are good-paying jobs for Montanans - and Tony has long been a great partner when it comes to Montana's economic development. This is great news for Montana jobs and I appreciate Tony's commitment to public service," said Baucus.
"Tony's long record of creating jobs and bringing new businesses to Montana make him the right man to strengthen Montana's economy," Tester said. "Smart, responsible leadership will keep rural Montana moving in the right direction, and I look forward to working with Tony to bring new economic opportunities to our state."
"I'm thrilled to go back to USDA Rural Development and work closely with partners at every level to bring even more jobs to Montana communities. I'm grateful to Senators Baucus and Tester for having the confidence in me to fulfill the obligations of this important post and I look forward to working with both of them to maximize Montana's economic development potential," said Preite.
USDA Rural development has six offices in Montana in Billings, Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell, Bozeman and Helena.
Preite has most recently helped answer Senator Baucus' Call to Action in the Bakken by serving as a multi-agency coordinator to help local communities unlock federal resources necessary to address the impacts of the oil and gas boom.
Preite got his start in economic development working as Director of Bear Paw development in Havre where he worked to implement economic development plans for Hill, Blaine and Liberty counties as well as Fort Belknap and Rocky Boys Indian Reservations. He previously served as USDA-Rural Development Montana state director in 1993, before going on to work as Regional Office Director for Economic Development for the US Department of Commerce in Denver (1999) and the Director for Space Commercialization and Economic Development Outreach at UM (2003). In 2004, Preite became the Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. Since 2010, Preite has been working as the Director for outreach and economic development at MSUN. Preite is a native of Havre and graduated from MSUN in 1963.
USDA Rural Development works in conjunction with the state and local partners to leverage resources for expanding infrastructure in rural Montana and supporting jobs.
In fiscal year 2011, Montana projects received more than $333 million in USDA Rural Development funds including $191 million for rural housing, $71 million for expanding telephone and broadband services. More than $7 million in USDA Rural Development funds helped rural Montana communities maintain and expand essential services such as libraries, hospitals, and emergency services.