Jerry Ward, a former state senator from Southcentral, has been named the state director for rural development in Alaska at the Department of Agriculture.
Ward was an early and active supporter of President Donald Trump, and was co-chair for Trump’s Alaska campaign. An Alaska Native, he served in the State Senate from 1997 to 2002.
He was on the president’s transition team, where he served as the liaison to the 500-plus federally recognized tribes. He also was on the “beachhead” team at the Department of Education for the Trump transition.
“It is a honor to be selected by the President to fill the extremely important role of State Director of Rural Development in Alaska. I look forward to working with the President, Secretary of Agriculture, and the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development to increase rural prosperity and enhance customer service through innovation and partnerships in our state,” Ward wrote in a note.
Under Barack Obama, the state director position was held by Jim Nordlund, who resigned in January.
The Rural Development program added $2.1 billion into rural communities in Alaska during the eight years of the Obama era, for everything from business startups to sanitation systems in remote villages.
Bryan Scoresby was named director of the department’s Farm Service Agency for Alaska. From Wasilla, Scoresby began his career with the USDA in 1987 and came to Alaska in 1992 to serve as District Director of the Farm Service Agency.