RICHMOND — Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe on Thursday named Cabinet secretaries for agriculture and natural resources, one a holdover from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s administration and the other a former Hampton mayor.
McAuliffe (D) has chosen Todd Haymore, secretary of agriculture and forestry for the past four years under McDonnell (R), to stay on in that position. Haymore previously served as agriculture commissioner under then-governor Timothy M. Kaine (D).
Under Haymore, the state opened agricultural trade offices in seven foreign countries, helping to push agricultural and forest product exports to a record $2.6 billion last year. Agriculture and forestry are the state’s largest industries, contributing $79 billion a year to Virginia’s economy.
McAuliffe also picked Molly Joseph Ward, who served as mayor of Hampton from 2008 until earlier this year, to be his secretary of natural resources. Ward stepped down as mayor in late September to take a job with the Obama administration, becoming special assistant to the president and deputy director for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Daily Press reported at the time.
As mayor, Ward made economic development as well as conservation top priorities, McAuliffe said. She has served as a trustee of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.
“Growing our agriculture and forestry industries responsibly, and protecting our natural and historic resources, are part of what we need to do to grow our economy and to make sure we’re increasing our tourism economy,” McAuliffe said as he announced the appointments in the Capitol. “Protecting Virginia’s native, natural and economic assets while leveraging them to create jobs ... will require talent, vision and experience.”