WASHINGTON, DC, US – A former Goldman Sachs vice president and social justice advocate has been appointed to the post of Assistant Secretary of Administration at the US Department of Agriculture.

Oscar Gonzales, who previously held several USDA positions under Secretary Tom Vilsack in the Obama administration, was appointed on March 29 by President Joe Biden.

“Oscar has dedicated his life and career to fighting for underserved and marginalized communities,” said Vilsack. “He grew up in a working-class family in East Los Angeles and worked at almost every level of food and agriculture – from working on a horse farm to serving at the highest levels of state government leadership. and federal.

“With Oscar’s leadership and a team that reflects the diversity of our nation behind him, the USDA is committed to ensuring fairness across the department, eliminating systemic racism and discrimination, and eliminating systemic racism and discrimination. barriers to accessing USDA programs. “

Gonzales, a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and East Los Angeles College, has extensive experience working at the federal and state levels to advocate for social justice for underserved and marginalized communities, in focusing on Hispanic communities. He worked for the United Farm Workers Foundation for several years. His wife, Christine Chavez, is the granddaughter of American labor and civil rights legend Cesar Chavez.

In the Obama administration, Gonzales held a number of senior positions at USDA, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration as well as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Senior Advisor on Immigration Reform at Vilsack. .

Previously, Gonzales oversaw FSA programs in 58 counties in the nation’s largest agricultural producing state, California, as executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Prior to entering government service, Gonzales worked with various nonprofits including the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Building Up Los Angeles, the Corporation for National Service, the California Community College Foundation, the National Hispanic Environmental Council, the ‘East Los Angeles Residents Association and the UFW Foundation.

In his most recent role, Gonzales worked for Goldman Sachs where he held the title of Vice President of Government Relations for Western States.

Previously, he was vice president of community and government relations for Aura Financial, a CDFI-certified financial technology company that is disrupting the predatory lending industry with loans that help low-income people.