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The President's New Cabinet

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January 2005

When President Bush needs advice, he turns to his Cabinet. The Cabinet is 15 men and women whom the President appoints to head different departments. As President Bush prepares to begin his second term, he has reorganized his Cabinet. Several key members from the former Cabinet have resigned, and the President has already replaced some of them. Some spaces have yet to filled, so look for more announcements in the coming days.

Resigned: Ann Veneman
Appointed: Mike Johanns

Mike Johanns
Mike Johanns
(© Office of the Governor/State of Nebraska)

Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns, 54, was named to replace Ann Veneman as Secretary of Agriculture. Johanns, who is an attorney, grew up on an Iowa dairy farm. As Secretary of Agriculture, he will oversee the nation's farm and food programs.

Now a Republican, Johanns was a Democrat when he was elected to the Lancaster Board of Commissioners in 1982. He became a Republican in 1988, before his election as an at-large member of the City Council of Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1991, he was elected Mayor of Lincoln. He became Governor of the state in 1998. In 2002, Johanns became the first Republican Governor of Nebraska to win re-election to a second term in more than four decades.

As governor, Johanns led a state delegation of farm and business leaders on a trade mission to Asia.


Resigned: Don Evans
Appointed: Carlos Gutierrez

Carlos Gutierrez
Carlos Gutierrez
(© Kellogg Co.)

Cuban-born Carlos Gutierrez has been selected to succeed Donald Evans as Secretary of Commerce. The focus of the Department of Commerce is on promoting American business, both at home and abroad.

Gutierrez fled Cuba with his family in 1960, and has worked for Kellogg since 1975. He began as a sales representative in Mexico City, and has traveled the world working for the company. In 1999, he was named Kellogg's president and CEO. Gutierrez has been credited with reviving the company and reducing its debt.

Gutierrez studied business administration at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Queretaro, Mexico. President Bush describes Gutierrez as "a visionary executive" and "one of America's most respected business leaders."


Current: Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
(© White House Photo)

During George W. Bush's first term as President, Donald Rumsfeld was best known for planning the war in Iraq. He was a hawk, or a supporter of using military force. His strategy was to bomb Iraq heavily, and then to send in a small, quick force to topple the government.

Rumsfeld is the oldest Secretary of Defense to ever serve. He also was once the youngest, first occupying the post under President Gerald Ford from 1975-1977. Current Vice President Dick Cheney also served in the Ford administration, and the two are longtime friends.

Rumsfeld is gruff and outspoken, and many Americans have strong feelings about him—both for and against. His supporters believe he masterminded a short and successful war; his critics argue that his planning for the post-war and for a stable peace was flawed. He will continue to serve in the President's new Cabinet as Secretary of Defense.


Resigned: Rod Paige
Appointed: Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings
Margaret Spellings
(© White House Photo)

As an assistant to President Bush, Spellings was one of the main authors of the No Child Left Behind Act. The purpose of the act was to improve America's elementary schools and high schools.

The act contains many changes to the nation's public-school system. For example, it calls for standardized tests in math and reading every year for students in grades 3 through 8, and it allows students to switch out of schools that do not improve over time. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the act, but its critics say that the Bush administration has undercut the law by not fully funding it.

Spellings was born in Michigan and grew up in Texas. She will take over the post from Rod Paige, who resigned in November.


Resigned: Spencer Abraham
Appointed: Samuel W. Bodman

Samuel W. Bodman
Samuel W. Bodman
(© White House Photo)

Samuel Bodman replaces Spencer Abraham as Secretary of Energy.

Bodman previously served in Bush's administration as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. He has also been a professor at MIT, chairman and CEO of an industrial company, and president of an investment firm.

"[Bodman] will bring to the Department of Energy a great talent for management and the precise thinking of an engineer," said President Bush. As Secretary of Energy, Bodman will work on matters from the security of nuclear facilities to improving conservation efforts to developing new sources of energy for the future.


Health & Human Services
Resigned: Tommy Thompson
Appointed: Michael Leavitt

Michael Leavitt
Michael Leavitt
(© Utah Governor's Office)

Michael Leavitt has been named to replace Tommy Thompson as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Leavitt has previously worked with President Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Leavitt served as Governor of Utah for three terms. During this time, Governor Leavitt improved child welfare services in his state and worked toward increasing children's access to health care. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Leavitt will oversee issues ranging from Medicare to the safety of the country's food and medical services.

An important part of Leavitt's new position is to ensure the health and safety of Americans by making certain that the country is medically prepared for any possible terrorist attack.


Homeland Security
Resigned: Tom Ridge
Appointed: Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff
Michael Chertoff
(© Courtesy of the White House)

The appointment of Judge Michael Chertoff, 51, as the new Secretary of Homeland Security came as a surprise. Chertoff's name was not on any list of potential candidates to replace retiring Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge.

Chertoff was the President's second choice. Bush first named former New York City Police Chief Bernard Kerik to run the three-year-old agency. Kerik withdrew his nomination because he did not pay taxes for his housekeeper. Also, the housekeeper was in the U.S. illegally. One of the 22 agencies incorporated into Homeland Security when it was formed after the 9/11 attacks was the INS (Immigration and Nationalization Service).

Chertoff is a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He is from New Jersey and has successfully gone through Senate confirmation three times for past appointments.


Housing and Urban Development
Current: Alphonso Jackson

Alphonso Jackson

Alphonso Jackson
(© U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development)

In January 2004, Alphonso Jackson took office as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He joined the Bush administration in 2001 as HUD deputy secretary.

Jackson has more than 25 years of experience in government. He headed the Housing Authority in Dallas, Texas, and the Department of Public and Assisted Housing in Washington, D.C. He is an authority on issues like public housing and community development.

The Department's mission is to provide affordable housing and promote economic and community development.


Current: Gale Norton

Gale Norton
Gale Norton
(© White House Photo)

Gale Norton is the first woman to head the U.S. Department of the Interior.

For eight years, Norton served as Attorney General of Colorado. Before that, she had been in the U.S. Department of the Interior, working with the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service on legal issues related to endangered species and public lands.

As head of the Department of the Interior, Norton oversees many environmental issues, including the management of land, energy, and water. The department works with 562 federally recognized Indian tribes. The protection of wildlife is also a high priority. As part of her work, Norton has reached out to states, communities, businesses, tribes, and citizens to encourage their involvement in conservation efforts.


Resigned: John Ashcroft
Appointed: Alberto Gonzalez

Alberto Gonzales
Alberto Gonzales
(© White House Photo)

Alberto Gonzales is a longtime adviser to President George W. Bush. He first worked with Bush in Texas. For three years, Gonzales served as General Counsel to then-Governor Bush.

Gonzales also played an important role in issues dealing with Mexico and the border between Mexico and the U.S. After serving as Texas Secretary of State, he was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court. In 2001, Gonzales became Counsel to President Bush.

Gonzales was born and reared in Texas. He attended Harvard Law School and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He replaces John Ashcroft as Attorney General, following Ashcroft's resignation in November. Gonzales is the first Hispanic Attorney General in U.S. history.


Current: Elaine Chao

Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao
(© U.S. Dept. of Labor)

Elaine Chao immigrated to the U.S. at the age of eight from Taiwan. She is the first Asian-American woman in a U.S. Cabinet.

Chao was the Director of the Peace Corps, and served as the head of the charitable organization United Way of America. She is married to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Majority Whip of the U.S. Senate.

Chao possesses "strong executive talent, compassion, and commitment to helping people build better lives," said President Bush. She has received many awards and honors in recognition of her service, including 24 honorary doctoral degrees from schools and universities around the world.


Resigned: Colin Powell
Appointed: Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
(© White House Photo)

President George W. Bush is not the first in his family to work with Condoleezza Rice. From 1989 to 1991, Rice served in George H.W. Bush's National Security Council.

In George W. Bush's first term, Rice was the National Security Adviser. She now replaces Colin Powell as Secretary of State, making her the first African-American woman in U.S. history to hold this most-important position. Rice, once approved by the U.S. Senate, will be the most powerful woman in the world. Powell and Bush often respectfully disagreed on policy matters; Rice and Bush are usually in agreement.

Rice was a professor of political science at Stanford University and served for six years as the university's provost. She has written several books and published many articles on international affairs.


Current: Norman Mineta

Norman Mineta
Norman Mineta
(© White House Photo)

Mineta is the first Secretary of Transportation to have previously served in another Cabinet position. He was Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, and he is the first Asian-American to serve on a President's Cabinet. He is the only Democratic Cabinet member in the Republican administration.

Mineta was elected Mayor of San Jose, California, in 1971. From 1975 to 1995, he served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In Congress, he served on several committees that handled matters of transportation.

The Department of Transportation oversees the U.S. transportation system, including air, water, and land transportation. Mineta believes these issues are important to economic growth. "Transportation is thus key to both our economic success and to our quality of life," he said.

As Secretary of the Treasury, Snow's main duty is to work to improve U.S. economic growth and create more jobs.


Current: John Snow

John Snow
John Snow
(© U.S. Dept. of the Treasury)

John Snow will remain a member of the President's Cabinet, continuing his work as Secretary of the Treasury. Snow was the head of a global transportation company for 20 years. He has been active in public service, having held several positions in the Department of Transportation. As chairman of the Business Roundtable, he was the leader of a business policy group that included 250 executives representing the country's largest companies.

Snow has been committed to improving the ways that corporations are run. His knowledge of industry helps him in his current work to improve the country's economy.


Veterans Affairs
Resigned: Anthony Principi
Appointed: Jim Nicholson

Jim Nicholson
Jim Nicholson
(© U.S. Dept. of State Photo)

A combat-decorated Vietnam veteran, Jim Nicholson replaces Anthony Principi as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs (VA) is the second-largest department of the federal government. The VA is responsible for health care services and benefit programs for American veterans and their dependents.

Nicholson was in active military duty for eight years, and served in the Army reserves for over 20 years. He was a chairman of the Republican National Committee, and has served the past three years as the United States ambassador to the Vatican. "I'm grateful to Jim for his superb work as our Ambassador," said President Bush, "and I now have asked him to accept a new assignment, to serve his country and his fellow veterans."

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