Know your cabinet

So far, President-elect Obama has appointed most of his cabinet and several non-cabinet positions:

Secretary of Homeland Security – responsible for national security organizations like the Coast Guard, border patrol, FEMA, and Secret Service – will be Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs – responsible for military veterans benefits like healthcare, medical facilities, and burial – will be retired Army General Eric Shinseki.

Attorney General – responsible for the Department of Justice and providing legal services to the highest levels of government – will be Eric Holder. The former Deputy Attorney General (second only to Attorney General) will be responsible for dealing with terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

The White House Chief of Staff will be Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

Press Secretary will be Robert Gibbs, a popular political consultant.

National Security Adviser will be General James Jones, former Marine and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

Ambassador to the U.N. will be Susan Rice, prominent political and State official.

Secretary of State – responsible for leading foreign policy and diplomacy – will be second-term New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Her goal is to focus on education and human rights around the world before armed conflict; however, she intends to engage in rigorous diplomacy with allies and enemies. She sees potential in Cuba becoming freer, but she would not meet Raul Castro unless “some evidence that it will demonstrate the kind of progress that is in our, and the Cuban people’s, interest.” She believes in preconditions, as opposed to Obama, agreeing that diplomacy with countries like Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea is necessary, but a meeting without precondition should not be used. When Bill Clinton was president, she would be deeply involved in the foreign policy team, which dealt with the crisis in Eastern Europe. Since then, she has had extensive foreign relations experience, most recently with China.

Secretary of Defense – responsible for national defense forces and policy – will be incumbent Robert Gates. Appointed Secretary of Defense by President Bush in 2006, Gates has also served in the intelligence community for 27 years, including two years as Director of the CIA, and he has received extensive praise and awards. He is a strong believer in the role of Congress to initiate a war, which earned him points in his confirmation hearing. He will make closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Center a top priority, as well as making a military budgeting overhaul. He recently backed a troop buildup in Afghanistan, and he agrees with Obama’s plan for Iraq, including a scheduled troop reduction.

Secretary of Treasury – responsible for financial policy and taxation – will be Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Geithner has had extensive economic policy experience: vice-chairing for five years the federal committee that formulates national economic policy, directing policy development at the International Monetary Fund, sitting on an independent think tank regarding foreign affairs, and chairing for five years the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Recently, he has done major work behind the scenes, organizing and executing the recent Wall Street bailouts.

Secretary of Homeland Security – responsible for national security organizations like the Coast Guard, border patrol, FEMA, and Secret Service – will be Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Napolitano was the first female attorney general of Arizona, trying thousands of immigration cases, and is now the leading voice on immigration policy.

Secretary of Commerce – responsible for promoting and developing foreign and domestic business – will be second-term New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. He served as UN ambassador, congressman, and Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. Obama recognizes Richardson as a top economic diplomat who has worked for years to increase trade with Mexico. He supports rewards and tax-free holidays for companies who pay above-average wages, and he intends to make a major cut to “corporate welfare” (government subsidies to corporations that tend to spend more on the company than the public).

Secretary of Health and Human Services – responsible for healthcare, substance abuse and treatment, and financial services for low-income families – will be former Senator Tom Daschle. Serving in Congress for 26 years, he will be an invaluable asset to moving a healthcare plan through Congress. He wants to allow everyone access to the same healthcare plans and costs now only available to Congressmen. In Congressional bills, he has voted for allowing prescription importations from Canada, adding prescription coverage to Medicare, and increasing funding to HIV/AIDS programs.

Attorney General – responsible for the Department of Justice and providing legal services to the highest levels of government – will be Eric Holder. The former Deputy Attorney General (second only to Attorney General) will be responsible for dealing with terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

The White House Chief of Staff – responsible for managing White House staff, managing information to the president, and negotiating with Congress – will be Congressman Rahm Emanuel. Press Secretary – responsible for speaking for the president to the media – will be Robert Gibbs, a popular political consultant. National Security Adviser – chief adviser to the president on national security issues – General James Jones, former leader of the Marines, US European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Ambassador to the U.N. will be Susan Rice, a prominent political and State Department official.

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