Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement announcing the appointment of Dr. Basil I. Gooden as the next Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Virginia, succeeding current Secretary Todd Haymore, who will become Secretary of Commerce and Trade in September:
“I am excited to bring a leader with Dr. Gooden’s experience and vision into my cabinet as our next Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. Dr. Gooden has been involved in Virginia’s agriculture industry his whole life, as he grew up raising Black Angus beef on his family’s cattle farm in Buckingham County. Agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest and most important industries, and Dr. Gooden is ready to build on our administration’s success in growing them under the leadership of Secretary Haymore.
“I ask members of my cabinet to spend every day making government work better for taxpayers and contributing to our administration’s goal of building a new Virginia economy. I have no doubt that Dr. Gooden will be a valuable member of this team and an outstanding Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.”
Dr. Basil I. Gooden was appointed by President Obama as State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development for the Commonwealth of Virginia in May of 2014. Before this position, Dr. Gooden served for twelve years as the Chief Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Dr. Gooden’s initiatives included strategic management, technology advancement, and community development for economically distressed communities.
Dr. Gooden is a Virginia native, raised on his family farm in Buckingham County, Virginia. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, and went on to earn a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health and his Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.