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January 19, 2009

Who's Who in the Obama Administration

Change is upon us... Tomorrow Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Everyone has been researching and reading and writing and talking and worrying and debating about Obama for quite some time now. And we know a hell of a lot about soon-to-be Vice President Joe Biden as well.

But they're not going to run this country on their own. So here's a brief look at some other important people in the Obama/Biden Administration...


The Position:
Secretary of State
The Job:
The Department of State advises the President in the formulation and execution of foreign policy and promotes the long-range security and well-being of the U.S.
The Nominee: Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York
The Scoop: I think the "good side" on this one is obvious: it's Hillary Clinton! The "bad side"? Well... it's Hillary Clinton. A lot of people are mixed on the Hillary Clinton issue... personally the ESC is happy about this selection. She's smart, she's diplomatic, she's experienced, she's already well known by other world leaders... and maybe this move will appease those PUMAs and "Hillary Supporters for McCain" (wtf) once and for all. But on the other hand, there is still that little issue of Bill Clinton (specifically his international business relationships).

The Position: Secretary of the Treasury
The Job: The Department of the Treasury formulates and recommends economic, financial, tax, and fiscal policies; serves as financial agent for the U.S. Government; and manufactures coins and currency.
The Nominee:: Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
The Scoop: From 1998-2001, Geithner served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and was later director of Policy Development at the International Monetary Fund. Geithner played a pivotal role in the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns, the decision to bail out AIG, and the decision to not save Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. Although he's been called "very unusually talented" and praised for his understanding of government and markets... some people are a little nervous about whether or not he can get our country out of financial crisis.

The Position: Secretary of Defense
The Job:
The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country.
The Nominee: Robert Gates, the current Secretary of Defense
The Scoop: Gates will remain in his position as Secretary Defense for at least the first year of Obama's presidency. Under Obama's administration, a review of U.S. policy and strategy in Afghanistan will reportedly be of high priority to Gates.

Position: Attorney General
The Job:
The Department of Justice serves as counsel for its citizens, representing them in enforcing the law in the public interest.
The Nominee: Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney
The Scoop: Holder is a former Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and was Deputy Attorney General (under Janet Reno), during Bill Clinton's administration. Holder opposes the death penalty, favors closing Guantanamo, is critical of the U.S. "torture policy",and was against the way the Bush administration has enforced the Patriot Act. If confirmed, Holder will be the first African American Attorney General of the U.S. (He was also the first African American Deputy AG).

Position: Secretary of the Interior
The Job:
The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the U.S.'s natural and cultural heritage; manages public lands and minerals, national parks, national wildlife refuges, and western water resources; and upholds Federal trust responsibilities to Indian tribes and our commitments to island communities.
The Nominee: Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado
The Scoop: Salazar would be the second Hispanic Interior Secretary (after Manuel Lujan, Jr., under President George H.W. Bush). Some environmental groups are concerned about Salazar's ties to the coal and mining industries, however the League of Conservation Voters gave him a 100% perfect score for 2008.

Position: Secretary of Agriculture
The Job:
The Department of Agriculture works to improve and maintain farm income; to develop and expand markets abroad for agricultural products; to help curb/cure poverty, hunger and malnutrition; to ensure standards of quality in daily food supply; to enhance the environment and to maintain production capacity by helping landowners protect the soil, water, forests, and other natural resources.
The Nominee: Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa
The Scoop: As the former Governor of a "farm "state", he's certainly no stranger to agricultural issues. However the Organic Consumers Association does not support Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary, citing a preference for large industrial farms and genetically modified crops.

Position: Secretary of Commerce
The Job:
The Department of Commerce encourages, serves, and promotes the U.S.'s international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement.
The Nominee: TBA
The Scoop: Obama's original pick for Commerce Secretary, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, recently withdrew amidst a federal grand jury investigation of $1.5 million in state highway contracts.

Position: Secretary of Labor
The Job:
The Department of Labor works to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the U.S., to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.
The Nominee: Rep. Hilda Solis of California
The Scoop: Solis is long-time advocate of civil rights for women and people of color. She is pro-union and has always been a strong advocate for workers rights, immigration reform and environmental issues.

Position: Secretary of Health and Human Services
The Job:
The Department of Health and Human Services is literally a department of serving people, from newborn infants to persons requiring health services to elderly citizens.
The Nominee: Tom Daschle, former Senator of South Dakota
The Scoop: Daschle is said to be planning to turn the health care system's goal away from just treating illness toward keeping people well, including a big focus on prevention. He's also quoted as wanting to restore confidence in the FDA, by ensuring that decisions be based on science and not politics or ideology. (That's a big concept for us here at the ESC, because the science of issues like abortion, birth control, and stem cell research are often overpowered by politicians' "morals"). Daschle was given a 50% rating by NARAL, due to a "mixed" voting record on pro-choice issues and will also serve as the director of a newly-formed White House Office of Health Reform.

Position: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
The Job:
The Department of Housing & Urban Development is responsible for programs concerned with the U.S.'s housing needs, fair housing opportunities, and improvement and development of the U.S.'s communities.
The Nominee: Shaun Donovan, Head of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development
The Scoop: Donovan has a "national reputation for curtailing low-income foreclosures, developing affordable housing and managing the nation's largest housing plan".

Position: Secretary of Transportation
The Job:
The Department of Transportation establishes the U.S.'s overall transportation policy, including highway planning, development, and construction; motor carrier safety; urban mass transit; railroads; aviation; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines.
The Nominee: Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois
The Scoop: LaHood is one of two Republican members of Obama's Cabinet (Robert Gates being the other, although he is technically registered as independent). Some feel that LaHood is a little inexperienced for this particular position (and has a poor track record when it comes to environmental issues), expecting the Chairman of the House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to play a stronger leading role. Although we are pleased to see an Arab American (he's of Jordanian and Lebanese descent) in the Cabinet.

The Position: Secretary of Energy
The Job:
The Department of Energy's mission is to foster a secure and reliable energy system that is environmentally and economically sustainable; to be a responsible steward of the U.S.'s nuclear weapons; to clean up the Department's facilities; to lead in the physical sciences and advance the biological, environmental, and computational sciences; and to provide premier scientific instruments for the U.S.'s research enterprise.
The Nominee: Steven Chu, Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Biology, Univeristy of California, Berkeley. Also the Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The Scoop: A winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1997), Chu has been a vocal advocate for alternative energy and nuclear power. Chu will be the first Chinese American to hold the office of Energy Secretary and the second Chinese American to be a member of the cabinet (after Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush).

The Position: Secretary of Education
The Job:
The Department of Education establishes policy for, administers, and coordinates most Federal assistance to education. Its mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the Nation.
The Nominee: Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools
The Scoop: A former professional basketball player, Duncan has extensive experience in educational policy and management. He has earned a solid reputation for "confronting pressing issues in public education" such as transforming weak schools and raising teacher quality. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lake Forest College (2003).

The Position: Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The Job:
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates programs to benefit veterans and members of their families, including compensation payments for disabilities or death related to military service; pensions; education and rehabilitation; home loan guaranty; burial; and a medical care program incorporating nursing homes, clinics, and medical centers.
The Nominee: Retired General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
The Scoop: A Vietnam veteran, Shinseki is the only Japanese American and Asian American to be promoted to the Army's top position and the first Asian four star general in the U.S. military. He's well known for his public "disagreement" with Rumsfeld over the amount of troops needed for postwar occupation of Iraq. (Shinseki's estimate was much higher than Rumsfeld's and was harshly rejected. Over time many came to believe that Shinseki was correct, including Central Commander Gen. John Abizaid).

The Position: Secretary of Homeland Security
The Job:
The Department of Homeland Security's first priority is to protect the nation against further terrorist attacks by analyzing threats and intelligence; guarding our borders and airports; protecting our critical infrastructure; and coordinating the response of our nation for future emergencies.
The Nominee: Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
The Scoop: Many consider Napolitano the "most effective governor" at combating illegal immigration. Formerly Arizona's Attorney General, a lot of people feel that Napolitano will be perfect for this job (and not because Ed Rendell thinks she has "no life" because she has no family, idiot). Good stuff about her: She's pro-choice and pro-education. The bad stuff: Despite rumors of being homosexual (denied), she opposes same-sex marriage. Arizona's third female governor, she was the first woman to win reelection in Arizona. If confirmed, Napolitano would become the first woman appointed Secretary in the relatively new department.


The Position: White House Chief of Staff
The Job:
The Chief of Staff has managerial and advisory roles including supervising key White House staff, controlling the flow of people into the Oval Office, managing the flow of information, protecting the interest of the President and implementing the President's agenda.
The Nominee: Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois
The Scoop: A former Senior Advisor to President Bill Clinton, Emmanuel remained neutral for much of the 2008 campaign finally endorsing Obama. He's well known for going up against Dick Cheney's claims that he was not a part of the executive branch, and therefore not subject to executive orders and regulations. (Emmanuel threatened to cut off the $4.8 million dollars in "executive-branch funding" received by the Vice President's office). Bonus: Emmanuel received 100% voting records from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

The Position: Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
The Job: The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for enforcing the U.S.'s Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, as well as other environmental statutes.
The Nominee: Lisa Jackson, Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Jersey
The Scoop: In addition to 16 years with the EPA, she has also served as New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection for two years. She's been praised for helping to put New Jersey in a "leadership role" on the issue of climate change, for introducing legislature that would cut greenhouse gas emissions, for discouraging the building new coal plants and for increasing the states goals for wind and solar power. The first African American and first African American woman to serve as Chief of Staff to the Governor of NJ, she will also be the first African American to serve as EPA Administrator. (The fourth woman to do so and the second "New Jerseyan").

The Position: Director of the Office of Management and Budget
The Job: The Office of Management and Budget oversees the activities of federal agencies; advises on a range of topics relating to federal policy, management, legislative, regulatory and budgetary issues.
The Nominee: Peter Orszag, recent Director of the Congressional Budget Office
The Scoop: Orszag's job will be require a close review of federal spending programs with the goal of "eliminating those programs we don't need and insisting that those we do need operate in a cost-effective way." As director of the Congressional Budget Office, Orszag drew attention to the role rising healing care expenditures were likely to play in the government's long-term fiscal problems so we can likely see some attempts at healthcare reform during Orszag's tenure with the OMB.

The Position:
Director of the National Drug Control Policy
The Job: The Office of National Drug Control Policy establishes policies, priorities, and objectives in an attempt to eradicate illicit drug use, manufacturing, trafficking, and related drug crime, violence and health consequences.
The Nominee: TBA
The Scoop: Obama has stated that his administration will aim to make health policy decisions based on science, not ideology or politics, but we'll have to wait and see how that actually applies to drug issues when he finally selects his "Drug Czar". A few names that have been floating around include Rep. Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, Atlanta police chief Richard J. Pennington, and Dr. Don Vereen, Obama's own Drug Control transition team leader.

The Position: Trade Representative
The Job: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is responsible for developing and recommending U.S. trade policy to the President; conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels; and coordinating trade policy within the government.

The Nominee: Ronald Kirk, former Mayor of Dallas, TX
The Scoop: Kirk is a proponent of free trade, however many expect him to advance Obama's concerns about including environmental and labor protections within trade pacts. A partner in a Dallas law firm, Kirk was the first African American mayor of Dallas. He is also remembered for demanding a "national apology" for slavery.

The Position: Ambassador to the United Nations
The Job: The U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations represents the U.S. on the U.N. Security Council and in all plenary meetings of the General Assembly. (Barack Obama has returned this position to cabinet level).
The Nominee: Susan Rice
The Scoop: Another "Clinton alum" (she served on the staff of the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during Bill Clinton's presidency), Rice served as a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama during his campaign. Allegations have been made that Rice played a key role in missing an opportunity to neutralize Osama bin Laden back when he was still in Sudan. Rice will be America's third female ambassador to the UN (after Madeline Albright and Jeane Kirkpatrick) and the first African American woman to hold the position.


The Position: Senior Advisors to the President
The Job: The Office of the Senior Advisor takes responsibility for strategic initiatives, intergovernmental affairs, political affairs and the office of the Public Liaison (see below).
The Nominees: Pete Rouse, Barack Obama's Chief of State in the Senate and David Axelrod, consultant for AXP&D Message and Media
The Scoop: Both Axelrod and Rouse have worked with Obama before. Axelrod was the chief strategist for the 2008 Obama campaign and has been credited with some of the Obama trademarks, such as "hope" and "change". He's also served on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Chris Dodd. In addition to being Obama's Chief of Staff, Rouse was also co-chairman of the transition team and served as chief of staff to Sen. Tom Daschle (South Dakota), Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois) and former Lt. Gov. Terry Miller (Alaska).

The Position: Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liason
The Job:
The Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs serves as the President's liaison to state, local and tribal governments. The Office of Public Liaison promotes Presidential priorities through outreach to concerned constituencies and public interest groups, including planning briefings, meetings and large events.
The Nominee: Valerie Jarrett, President and CEO of The Habitat Co.
The Scoop: A longtime friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, Jarrett served as a senior adviser for Obama's presidential campaign and as co-chair of his transition team. Jarrett has also served the state of Chicago as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development, Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard Daley, and then Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development. (She also was chairperson of the Chicago Transit Authority).

The Position: Surgeon General
The Job: Part of the Office of Public Health and Science, the Surgeon General serves as America's chief health educator by providing scientific information on improving health and reducing the risk of illness and injury.
The Nominee: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and news correspondent
The Scoop: Gupta could be the highest-profile surgeon general in history and according to some sources may have an expanded role in providing health policy advice. Formerly a White House fellow and advisor to Hillary Clinton, Gupta currently hosts a show on CNN and publishes a column in TIME magazine. The public response to Gupta's nomination has been mixed: Some feel that his communication skills and high profile will allow him to prioritize medical reform, while others are concerned about potential conflicts of interest with drug companies. (And we all know how Michael Moore feels about him).

The Position: Solicitor General
The Job:
The Office of the Solicitor General is responsible for conducting all litigation on behalf of the U.S. in the Supreme Court and to supervise the handling of litigation in the federal appellate courts.
The Nominee: Elena Kagan, Dean of Harvard Law School
The Scoop: Kagan has previously taught alongside Barack Obama at the University of Chicago Law School, served as President Bill Clinton's Associated White House Council and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1999 (although she was never confirmed due to Republican blocking of the nomination). Bonus: Kagan has written widely on a range of First Amendment issues and in ways supportive of free speech rights. She is currently the first female Dean of Harvard Law School and will be the first woman to serve permanently as solicitor general.

The Position: Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
The Job:
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the U.S.
The Nominee: N/A
The Scoop:
Barack Obama will not be able to appoint a new chairman until 2010, when George W. Bush's 2006 nominee Ben Bernanke's term will be up.

The Position: Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
The Job:
The head of the Social Security Administration is responsible for adminsitering the Social Security programs (retirement, survivors and disability) as well as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
The Nominee:
The Scoop:
A new commissioner will not be appointed until 2013, when George W. Bush's 2007 nominee Michael J. Astrue's term will be up.

The Position: Director of National Intelligence
The Job:
The DNI is serves as the principle adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security.
The Nominee:
retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair
The Scoop: Blair is a four-star admiral and former top U.S. military commander in the Pacific region who has served as an associate CIA director for military support and alos at the White House National Security Council.
Obama has said that he is committed to "a clear end to torture" and restoring a balance between security and constitutional protections, however many feel that Blair's past actions indicate a lack of concern for human rights. Most significant is his laissez-faire attitude about the crisis in East Timor in the late 90s. (Concerned by the increasing violence against independence groups in Indonesian-occupied East Timor, the Clinton Administration ordered Blair to meet with the commander of the Indonesian military and tell him to shut down the pro-Indonesia militia. Not only did Blair not deliver this message, but he instead offered Indonesia military assistance).

The Position: Director, Domestic Policy Council
The Job:
The Domestic Policy Council coordinates the policy-making process with respect to domestic issues and ensures that domestic policy decisions and programs are effective and consistent with the President's stated goals.
The Nominee: Melody Barnes
The Scoop: Previously the Exec VP for Policy at the Center for American Progress, Barnes left the CAP to work on the Obama campaign and serves on the advisory board for Obama's transition team.
She has worked on civil rights, women’s health, religious liberties and judicial appointments and for the ACLU, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Bonus tidbit of info for the Evil Slutopia readers: In addition to working for the Center for Reproductive Rights, she was a board member of EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood.

The Position: Chair, Council of Economic Advisers
The Job:
The Council of Economic Advisers advises the President on the economic policy of the White House.
The Nominee: Christina Romer, co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research
The Scoop:
A former vice president of the American Economic Association and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship recipient, Romer's early worked focused on a comparison of macroeconomic volatility before and after WWII and the causes of and U.S. recovery from the Great Depression. She has done extensive work on fiscal and monetary policy, including the impact of tax policy on government and general economic growth. Romer was given the task of co-authoring the administration's plan to recover from the 2008 recession with economic Jared Bernstein. To hear from her directly on Obama's proposed "jobs creation" package: video and report here.

The Position: Director, National Economic Council
The Job: The National Economic Council coordinates policy-making for domestic and international economic issues, coordinates economic policy advice for the President, ensures that policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President's economic goals, and monitors implementation of the President's economic policy agenda.
The Nominee: Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government
The Scoop:
A recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal for his work in several fields of economics, Summers served as Secretary of the Treasury for the last year and a half of the Bill Clinton Administration. Summers offended a lot of people during his tenure as President of Harvard University (2001-2006) including affirmative action advocates, environmentalists, and women. Perhaps his most famous offense among feminists would be his suggestion that there are more men than women in high-end science and engineering positions because of inate differences (basically, that men are more likely to be scientists because men are naturally just better at science, whatEVER).

The Position: Chairman, Economic Recovery Advisory Board
The Job:
The President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board is a new panel of non-governmental experts from business, labor, academic and elsewhere that Obama is creating to help deal with the current economic crisis. (The Board will be established initially for a two-year term after which Obama will determine whether or not its continuation is necessary).
The Nominee: Paul Volcker,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Group of Thirty and a former Federal Reserve Chairman
The Scoop: Volcker has a long history with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He began there in 1952 as a full-time economist and later returned in 1979 as Chairman under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan.
Other notable experience includes work at the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Volcker's time at the Federal Reserve was widely credited with ending the U.S.'s "stagflation" crisis of the 1970s, but also with contributing to the significant recession the U.S. economy experienced in the early 1980s.

The Position: Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
The Job: The Council on Environmental Quality coordinates federal environmental efforts in the U.S. and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environment and energy policies/initiatives.
The Nominee: Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for Los Angeles
The Scoop: A current member of the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Sutley's resume includes time as an EPA official during Bill Clinton's administration, an energy advisor to Gov. Gray Davis, a deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations within the California EPA and on the California State Water Resources Control Board.
A member of Hillary Clinton's California LGBT steering committee during the Democratic primaries, Sutley is the first prominent gay person to earn a senior role in Obama's new administration.

The Position: Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
The Job: The so-called "climate czar" coordinates environmental, energy, climate and related matters for the federal government.
The Nominee: Carol Browner, Principal of The Albright Group LLC
The Scoop:
Browner served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the entire eight years of Bill Clinton's presidency (
the longest term in the history of the agency), where she established climate change as an important environmental issue requiring change. She also established herself as "unpopular" with a number of industry groups and conservative members of Congress. She is widely known for championing common sense, cost-effective solutions to pressing environmental and public health challenges.

The Position: Chairman of the House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
The Job: Formerly known as the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, this standing committee of the House of Representatives has jurisdiction over America's surface transportation, freight and passenger rail and the inland waterway system.

The Nominee: N/A
The Scoop:
This is an elected position, currently held by Rep. Jim Oberstar since 2006. So why mention it at all? It is speculated that Oberstar, a Democrat from Minnesota, will play a stronger leading role during this administration, downplaying the role that Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood will play (see above). Oberstar is an internationally recognized expert on aviation and aviation safety and was a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. He also authored and has passed the Safe Routes to School program. He has a generally liberal voting record (considered the third most liberal member of the Minnesota congressional district) but opposes abortion and gun control, meh.

The Position:
National Security Adviser
The Job: The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, serves as the chief adviser to the President on national security issues.
The Nominee: retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, Jr.

The Scoop: Currently the Chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States, Jones has served as chair of the Congressional Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State as a special envoy for Middle East security in 2007. Twice he was asked by Condoleeza Rice to be Deputy Secretary of State, but he declined. Jones' record has been described as that of "someone who [is] unencumbered by strong ideological leanings [and] can evaluate ideas dispassionately whether they come from left or right" (quote: Michael Crowley).

The Position: Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
The Job:
The Office of Legislative Affairs serves as the President’s liaison to the United States Congress.
The Nominee:
Phil Schiliro
The Scoop: Schiliro was a senior advisor to Obama's presidential campaign and the transition team's Director of Congressional Relations. Before joining Obama's campaign, he was Chief of Staff to Rep. Henry Waxman of California and the House Oversight Committee.

The Position: White House Counsel
The Job:
The Counsel's office advises the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House.
The Nominee:
Greg Craig
The Scoop: It was earlier speculated that Craig would be nominated for Secretary of State. He served as senior advisor to Secretary of State Madeline Albright and was the director of policy planning. Notable points on his 'resume' include playing a key role in getting economic sanctions imposed against the apartheid government of South Africa, serving as a go-between on Tibetan issues between the Dalali Lama and the Chinese government, and
representing Elián González’s father in the famous custody battle.

The Position: Cabinet Secretary
The Job:
The cabinet secretary serves as the liaison between the White House and the heads of executive departments.

The Nominee:
Chris Lu, former legislative director of Obama's Senate office
The Scoop: Lu served as an advisor to Barack Obama during the 2008 election and then as the executive director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. A former classmate of Obama at Harvard Law, Lu also served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals (Third Circuit), on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a special advisor to John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election.

The Position: Staff Secretary
The Job:
The Assistant of the President and Staff Secretary is responsible for managing communications to the president and circulating documents among senior staff.
The Nominee: Lisa Brown, Executive Director of the American Constitution Society
The Scoop: In her pre-government career, she worked as a lawyer for Shea & Gardner and had a substantial pro bono practice focusing on disability issues, civil rights and social justice. A former member of the Executive Board of the President's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities, she also served as Deputy Counsel and then later Counsel, to Vice President Al Gore.

The Position: Press Secretary
The Job:
The Press Secretary is the primary spokesperson for the Administration.
The Nominee:
Robert Gibbs
The Scoop: The Communications Director for Barack Obama in the Senate (and for Obama's 2008 campaign), Gibbs also served as Communications Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for four separate Senate campaigns (including Obama's in 2004) and as Press Secretary for Rep. Bob Etheridge. He served as Press Secretary for John Kerry's presidential campaign for a period of time (resigning in response to the firing Jim Jordan) and was criticized in 2004 for launching attack ads against Howard Dean's campaign. His most recent "claim to fame" was confronting Sean Hannity on Hannity and Colmes back in October, for giving Andy Martin a forum to make accusations against Barack Obama without addressing Martin's history of conspiracy theories and Anti-Semitism.

The Position: Communications Director
The Job:
The Communications Office is responsible for the planning and production of the President's media events.
The Nominee:
Ellen Moran, executive director of EMILY's List
The Scoop: Before EMILY's List, Moran served in the Political department of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (a labor union federation) where
she coordinated Wal-Mart corporate accountability activities and worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development on international democracy work in Indonesia. She has managed campaigns for members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as a few governors and 1992 presidential hopeful Tom Harkin. She also helped plan both Clinton inaugurals.

The Position: Director of the Office of Urban Policy
The Job:
This brand new office will take a "comprehensive approach to urban development" by coordinating federal efforts to help America's cities.

The Nominee: Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Borough President of the Bronx
The Scoop: A Democrat, Carrion is the most vocal outer-borough of Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan (which would charge drivers a fee to enter Manhattan between 8am and 6pm) in an effort to reduce congestion and minimize air pollution. He also pushed for improvements to mass transit.
He is currently the highest ranking Latino elected official in the state of New York. A notable moment in Carrion's history: In 2007 he demanded an apology from the German government after a racist and "anti-Bronx" military training exercise popped up on YouTube.

There are still even more members of the administration who you might want to know about (and who knows which of these nominees will or will not actually be confirmed). So you can be sure that we'll be continuing to cover this topic as the selection process and hearings continue. In the meantime, for more detailed information about what the President's Cabinet does and each department's responsibilities: click here or here. Happy Inauguration!

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1 comment:

Bill said...

AMAZING job on this. Seriously, I'm in awe. Best listing I've seen anywhere.