Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are recommending Havre-native and rural economic development veteran Tony Preite as Montana State Director for USDA Rural Development.
The position is subject to presidential appointment following a recommendation from Baucus and Tester. The post was previously held by Matt Jones, who was appointed by President Obama in July, 2009 to manage the Montana offices of USDA Rural Development.
"Tony's a great candidate because he's focused on good-paying jobs and he's dedicated to public service," said Baucus. "Tony knows how important it is to be proactive about economic development and I hope the President moves forward quickly on his appointment."
"Tony's long record of creating jobs and bringing new businesses to Montana make him the right man to strengthen rural 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."
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. In January, Baucus and Tester issued a statewide call for Montanans interested in promoting rural economic development to apply for the position.
USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT
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.