WASHINGTON — Ariz. Gov. Janet Napolitano will be the third secretary of the Homeland Security Department if confirmed by the Senate.
A former federal prosecutor, state attorney general and twice-elected governor of Arizona, Napolitano brings a well-rounded skill set to the task.
As governor, she fought to curb illegal immigration and supported measures to enhance the security of state driver’s licenses — issues that would fall under her purview at the Homeland Security Department. She has also overseen efforts to combat wildfires and severe flooding, and she worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which she would have in her homeland security portfolio as well.
Napolitano was the Clinton-appointed U.S. attorney in Arizona when the Justice Department prosecuted Sen. John McCain’s wife, Cindy, for stealing prescription drugs from her medical charity. As a private attorney in 1991, she was part of the legal team representing Anita Hill, a former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission colleague of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, whom Hill accused of sexual harassment.
Single and a breast cancer survivor, the 50-year-old Napolitano is a basketball fan, plays tennis and regularly visits her brother and his family in California. She was an early supporter of Barack Obama and is known for being tough on Republicans. As governor she set career records for vetoes as she battled with the Republican-led legislature over spending and illegal immigration.
As homeland security secretary, she would face more than 80 congressional oversight committees and subcommittees in the Democratic-controlled Congress.