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Former Napolitano chief of staff returns to USDA

Alan Stephens, former chief of staff for Gov. Janet Napolitano, has been tapped by the Obama administration to serve as Arizona state director for rural development at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Alan Stephens will be an important advocate on behalf of rural communities throughout the state and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success,” according to a statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Stephens, who recently served as policy adviser to Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman, will return to the position he held during the Clinton administration. During the early 1990s, Stephens served as majority leader in the Arizona Senate. He also served as director of finance for the Community Care Network in Phoenix from 1977 to 1988.

The USDA’s rural development office manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. The programs are designed to improve the quality of life in rural America by increasing the economic stability of the area’s communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers.

The office has an existing portfolio of more than $114 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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These members of the Martin Gold family are standing in front of the first large steam engine and threshing machine in the Phoenix area. They are, from left, Martin Gold; his daughter, Rose; an unidentified farmhand; Gold’s daughter, Helen; Dave Martinez; an unidentified young woman; and Gold’s stepson, Ulysses Schofield. The photograph was taken during the harvest in July 1914. Gold brought the first steam thresher to Phoenix.

Martin Gold, Phoenix pioneer (access required)

By all accounts, Martin Gold was a humble and hard-working man. He was popular among the immigrant community, especially the Mexicans—who called him Don Martin—because of his facility with languages.