Christopher McLean - Participant

Christopher A. McLean is the Assistant Administrator for Electric Programs (AAE) at the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). He was named to that position on January 11, 2015. This is Chris’ third time at the agency. As AAE, Chris presides over a $46 billion loan portfolio. In recent years the RUS annual lending budget for electric infrastructure has exceeded $5 billion. The agency makes low interest loans for rural electric infrastructure, renewable energy generation, smart grid technology, grid modernization and energy efficiency.

Chris led the RUS as Acting Administrator for nearly fifteen months prior to the arrival of Ken Johnson who was appointed Administrator in April 2018. As Acting Administrator, Chris had responsibility for telecommunications, broadband, electric, water and sewer infrastructure loans and grants to utilities serving rural communities. His accomplishments include streamlining of lending practices, the expansion of smart grid investments and increased vigilance in loan portfolio management.

Prior to his return to RUS, Chris was the Acting Director of the Program Planning and Accountability Division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) at the United States Department of Agriculture. He came to OASCR in 2013 as civil rights fellow in the Policy Office. From 2010-2012, Chris served as a senior advisor to the Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

Chris was in private practice from 2001-2010. He was the co-owner of e-Copernicus, a consulting firm that specialized in telecommunications, transportation and technology policy. Chris is also the former Executive Director of the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC).

Mr. McLean is a former RUS Administrator and former Governor of the Rural Telephone Bank. He was appointed Deputy Administrator in January 1998. In 2000, he was the first person nominated and confirmed for the position of RUS Administrator.

Prior to joining RUS, Mr. McLean worked on Capitol Hill for more than 15 years. As a Senate Staffer, Chris was a member of a group of rural Senators and staff known as “The Farm Team.” Many of the rural, universal service, e-rate and telemedicine provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 originated from the work of The Farm Team.

Mr. McLean hails from Omaha, Nebraska. He received an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University in 1985, a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1982 and a degree in Business Administration from Creighton University in 1980.



United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development


Assistant Administrator, Rural Utilities Service Electric Programs