Texas agriculture commissioner-elect, state Sen. Todd Staples, announced his choices for two key positions within the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Current deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Drew DeBerry, will serve as Staples’ deputy commissioner, and Shannon Wickliffe Rusing, Staples’ current Senate chief of staff, will take the position with the same title at the TDA.

DeBerry, a native of Olton, Texas, has worked the last five years in Washington, D.C. Previous to his appointment as deputy chief of staff at USDA, DeBerry served as White House liaison for the agency. In addition to his federal experience, DeBerry also worked in the Texas legislature on the staff of state Sen. Robert Duncan of Lubbock.

He graduated from Texas Tech University with an honors degree in agricultural and applied economics. DeBerry and his wife, Gayle, are the proud parents of two sons and a newly arrived daughter.

“Drew’s education and background provide him an important perspective necessary for this demanding post,” Staples said. “His experience at the federal level combined with his national relationships will help TDA promote Texas’ agricultural interests nationally and abroad.”

Rusing has worked for Staples since 1995, both in the Texas House of Representatives and the state senate. She has served as chief of staff since 2003 and previously served as legislative director. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

“Shannon has worked with me through six legislative sessions and numerous special sessions,” Staples said. “She has proven her work ethic, intelligence and effectiveness countless times. Her strong leadership and extensive knowledge of Texas government will allow us to provide quality services from the department of agriculture.”

Rusing and her husband, Rich, are the proud parents of a daughter and a son.

Staples commented on the educational diversity and blend of talents of his staff.

“I’m an Aggie hiring a Red Raider and a Longhorn as my chief aides,” Stapless said. “We may not cheer for the same football team, but professionally, our goal is the same: making Texas agriculture first in the nation.”