USDA State Director Terry Brunner visited the Los Alamos Daily Post headquarters Friday to talk about potential projects and programs for Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
After meeting with Los Alamos County officials Friday, USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner stopped by the Los Alamos Daily Post newspaper office to introduce himself and share information about his organization.
Brunner was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. He oversees six field offices and the state office in Albuquerque. Rural Development administers and manages more than 87 housing, business and community infrastructure and community facility programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities in New Mexico.
“Los Alamos is classified as a rural community and stands in this unique position with its workforce,” Brunner said. “There are opportunities for this community to grow … today we met with the county and discussed what it has on its project list.”
Brunner oversees a grant, loan and loan guarantee portfolio of more than $1 billion in New Mexico. He explained that because the local median household income is higher here – Los Alamos does not get as much access to grants as other rural communities of similar size, but said he can assist in putting together financing packages.
“There is the knowledge and capacity here to put together some complex public-private packages,” Brunner said.
Prior to his appointment to lead New Mexico’s USDA Rural Development agency, Brunner served as state director for U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman for seven years—overseeing the senator’s state and political affairs. From 2001-2002, he served as Bingaman’s outreach staff in Northern New Mexico on the issues of economic development, public health, energy and public lands. He also served as campaign manager for the senator’s successful reelection campaign in 2006 and as the senior advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in New Mexico.
From 1999-2001, Brunner served as a policy analyst for the Santa Fe County Commission. During his time with the Commission, he helped create the County’s citizen-led Health Policy Commission and implemented the County’s Open Space program — the first of its kind in New Mexico. Brunner led the County’s economic development activities and was the assistant to Santa Fe County Commissioner and National Association of Counties Vice President Javier Gonzales.
Brunner earned his B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona and his M.A. in Latin American Studies with an emphasis in Political Science and Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico. Brunner was recognized in 2010 as one of New Mexico’s 10 “Rainmakers” and one of 100 Power Brokers by the New Mexico Business Weekly. He is a former member of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library Board and an Eagle Scout. Brunner is married to Leigh Brunner, an Albuquerque attorney, and they have two daughters.