Obama's Cabinet is Taking Shape

Published December 30, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama is wasting little time in putting together an administration to lead the nation over the next four years.

On Wednesday, he named former Gov. Tom Vilsack as his agriculture chief and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as his honcho at the Interior Department.

"It is time for a new kind of leadership in Washington that's committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all of our families," Obama said in a news conference, his third this week to announce new appointments.

But, ironically, Obama’s selection of Salazar, the second Hispanic named to his Cabinet (New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as Commerce secretary is the other) left the U.S. House of Representatives with even fewer Latinos than before, USA Today’s Kathy Kiel pointed out Wednesday.

Although Latinos, the nation’s largest minority group, make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, they comprise only 5 percent of the House seats, she writes.

Even Obama’s departure from the U.S. Senate, while a landmark move for African Americans, left the upper chamber of Congress without a single Black senator.

In the surge to get his team in place, Obama chose Mary Schapiro to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, FOX News reports. 

Schapiro, who runs the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (the largest non-governmental regulator for securities firms doing business with the public) also has served as chairwoman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and she spent six years as a member of the SEC.

Obama also is expected to name Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood, a moderate Republican who often criticized President Bush and conservative party leaders, as his Transportation secretary, FOX reports.

In addition, the station says, Michigan Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm is the front-runner to win the labor secretary nomination.

Written by From Staff & Wire Services

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