Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Jim Carroll announced Anne Hazlett, former Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director, as the office’s Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs.
Hazlett has served as the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since June 2017. In her new role at ONDCP, Hazlett will help shape policy aimed at improving the quality of life in rural America, coordinate interagency efforts on drug control activity impacting rural communities, and build coalitions and grassroots strategies in these areas centered on prevention, treatment and recovery.
“Rural communities across the United States have been particularly hard hit by our nation’s addiction crisis,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said. “Anne has a critical understanding of the unique challenges facing these communities and is committed to helping them reverse the effects of the opioid epidemic. We are looking forward to her joining our team as we build a stronger, healthier, drug-free society today and in the years to come.”
An Indiana native, Hazlett has worked on agriculture and rural issues for over fifteen years. Working in both the U.S. House and Senate, Hazlett served as Republican Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry where she was an advisor on many issues impacting rural America from Farm Bill programs to broadband and child nutrition. In addition to her public service in Washington, Hazlett was the Director of Agriculture for her home state where she managed the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and was an advisor to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on agriculture and rural issues. Further, she served as Chief of Staff to Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman where she assisted in the creation of the state’s first Office of Community and Rural Affairs, an agency devoted to providing financial and technical assistance to rural communities, and supervised management of the state’s housing finance, energy, and tourism agencies. Outside of public service, Hazlett was in private law practice where she advised clients on agriculture and environmental regulatory matters.
“During her time at USDA, Anne has been a tireless and proven leader in addressing the needs of rural communities struggling with substance misuse,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “With her love of people and passion for bringing hope to small towns impacted by this epidemic, Anne is perfectly suited for this important role. We are proud to see her take on this new opportunity where she can focus on building healthy and prosperous communities.”
“Anne has been an incredibly active and effective member of the opioids cabinet on behalf of USDA to increase awareness and action in rural America,” Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said. “Her dedication, experience and passion are assets she will bring to the team at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. I look forward to continuing our work together in Anne’s new role within the Executive Office of the President.”
President Donald J. Trump has mobilized his entire Administration to address opioid misuse by directing the declaration of a nationwide Public Health Emergency. To help local leaders respond to this epidemic, Hazlett led USDA’s efforts to build infrastructure for prevention, treatment and recovery, facilitate partnerships, and drive innovation in rural communities. During Hazlett’s tenure, USDA worked with ONDCP to establish a White House Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group, which is improving coordination of federal resources in rural America. Hazlett also guided USDA to build and launch the Community Opioid Misuse Toolbox. This initiative includes the Community Resource Guide (PDF, 1.7 MB), a comprehensive directory of federal resources that can help rural communities address the opioid crisis, and the Community Assessment Tool, an interactive database to help community leaders assess how and why the opioid epidemic is impacting their regions.
Because of Hazlett’s departure, Secretary Perdue named Joel Baxley, USDA’s Administrator of the Rural Housing Service (RHS), as Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development. Perdue will soon name an Acting Administrator for RHS. In the meantime, Perdue is working with the White House to identify a candidate to nominate for USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, a position created by the 2018 Farm Bill. Following Senate confirmation of a new Under Secretary for Rural Development, the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development position would be eliminated.