WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama named Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as his homeland security secretary nominee on Monday, Democratic officials say.
At a Chicago news conference, Obama likely will announce plans to nominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his Democratic primary opponent, as secretary of state and Eric Holder as the nation’s first black attorney general, as well as retain Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, two Democratic sources with knowledge of the selection process said.
Obama’s announcements complete the nominations for one-third of his Cabinet as he moves quickly to assemble the country’s new leadership in times of war and a troubled economy.
The sources, who requested anonymity because the appointments had not been announced, confirmed that Obama also planned to announce two senior foreign policy positions outside the 15-member Cabinet: campaign foreign policy adviser Susan Rice as U.N. ambassador and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser.
Napolitano on Friday was scheduled to attend a tree-lighting ceremony Monday morning in the lobby of her office’s building in Phoenix and the 2008 general election canvass Monday afternoon with her presumed successor, Secretary of State Jan Brewer.
Statement from Gov. Napolitano
This morning I was proud to accept an offer from President-elect Barack Obama to become Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
I believe that when called upon to serve – particularly at such a critical time in the history of our country – it is our duty to step forward and say, “yes.”
This was by no means, an easy decision. Over the past six years, we have accomplished a great deal together. We moved our state in a new direction strengthening our schools with voluntary full-day kindergarten, higher teacher pay and higher standards for our students. We expanded access to children’s health insurance and saved Arizonans millions of dollars with one of the largest free prescription drug discount programs in the country. And we’re rebuilding Arizona’s economy with a focus on high-wage, high-tech jobs of the future.
On the political front, we surpassed one million registered Democrats for the first time in history. We reached another milestone by electing four more Democrats to Congress, sending a majority to Washington this January. And we’ve built a Democratic Party that’s stronger, smarter and better positioned for victory in 2010 than ever before.
Arizona is facing a challenging time, and I intend to carry forward with my most important responsibilities as the leader of this state. In the weeks ahead, I will deliver my State of the State address, and shortly thereafter, I will present to the Arizona Legislature a balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010. Upon confirmation as Secretary by the U.S. Senate, I will tender my resignation as Governor of Arizona.
My pride in this state, my love for it and my dedication to it will never change. I will continue to work for Arizona and Arizonans, but from a different place and with a different charge. Thank you for your continued friendship and support.
Yours very truly,
Janet Napolitano Governor