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Administration Posts Announced by Pres. Obama

February 23, WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: Kathleen A. Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture; Jon Cannon, Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Seth Harris, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor; John Morton, Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; Dr. Ashton Carter, Nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Department of Defense; April Boyd, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Commerce; and Tom Strickland, Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior.  The White House also announced today that Steve Rattner will serve as a Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury.

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these distinguished men and women have chosen to put their unique talents and expertise to work serving our country.  Together, I am confident that we will be able to tackle the challenges of our time as we work to right our economy and enact policies that give America’s working families the relief they need.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the follow individuals today:

merrigankathleenKathleen A. Merrigan, Nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
Merrigan is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment MS and PhD Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston MA.  Prior to joining the Friedman School, Merrigan held a variety of policymaking jobs at the state, federal, and international level.  From 1999 to 2001, she was Administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  From 1994 to 1999, she worked at the Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, and served as an expert consultant at the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  From 1987 to 1992 she was a staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, working for Chairman Patrick Leahy.  From 1986 to 1987, Merrigan worked in the regulatory division of the Texas Department of Agriculture and from 1982 to 1985, she worked for Congressman John Olver during his tenure in the Massachusetts State Senate.  Merrigan holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in environmental planning and policy, a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and a B.A. in Political Science and English from Williams College.

Jon Cannon, Nominee for Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Cannon is currently a professor of environmental law as well as the director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program at the University of Virginia. Cannon has served as senior counsel at Beveridge & Diamond law firm. Prior to joining the University of Virginia, Cannon served in numerous positions within the EPA during the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations, eventually rising to general counsel. Prior to serving as general counsel, Cannon was deputy general counsel for Litigation and Regional Operations, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Civil Enforcement, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste Emergency Response (OSWER), Acting Assistant Administrator for OSWER, Assistant Administrator for Administration and Resource Management and Chief Financial Officer. Cannon graduated with a BA from Williams College in 1967 and a J.D. from University of Pennsylvania in 1974.

Seth Harris, Nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor
Harris was most recently the Obama Transition Project’s Agency Working Group Leader for the labor, education, and transportation agencies.  He is a Professor and the Director of Labor & Employment Law Programs at New York Law School.  He is also a Senior Fellow of the Life Without Limits Project of the United Cerebral Palsy Association and a member of the National Advisory Commission on Workplace Flexibility.  He served as the Chair of Obama for America’s Labor, Employment, and Workplace Policy Committee and a Co-Chair of its Disability Policy Committee.  During the Clinton Administration, he served as Counselor to the Secretary of Labor and Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, among other policy-advising positions.  Before joining the administration, he was a law clerk to Judge William Canby of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Judge Gene Carter of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.  He graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Law & Social Change.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations.

John Morton, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security
Morton is a career official at the U.S. Department of Justice with lengthy experience in immigration enforcement and criminal prosecution.  He began his career as a trial attorney in the honors program in 1994 and now serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division.  From September 2007 until last month, he was Acting Chief of the Domestic Security Section and Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, and prior to that, he was Deputy Chief of the Domestic Security Section.  In those roles, he was responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases and the development of Department policy in the areas of immigration crime, particularly human smuggling and complex passport and visa frauds; human rights offenses, particularly torture, war crimes, genocide, and the use of child soldiers; and international violent crime, particularly violent crime under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (“MEJA”).  From 1999 to 2006, he was as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Crimes and Terrorism Units of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Prior to that, he served for two and a half years as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, focusing primarily on immigration matters.

Dr. Ashton Carter, Nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Department of Defense
Carter, a physicist and current Chair of the International & Global Affairs faculty at the Kennedy School, served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from 1993 to 1996. He directed military planning during the 1994 crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; was instrumental in removing all nuclear weapons from the territories of Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus; directed the establishment of defense and intelligence relationships with the countries of the former Soviet Union when the Cold War ended; and participated in the negotiations that led to the deployment of Russian troops as part of the Bosnia Peace Plan Implementation Force. Dr. Carter managed the multi-billion dollar Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) program to support elimination of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of the former Soviet Union, including the secret removal of 600 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from Kazakstan in the operation code-named Project Sapphire. Dr. Carter also directed the Nuclear Posture Review and oversaw the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Counterproliferation Initiative. He directed the reform of DOD’s national security export controls. In 1997 Dr. Carter co-chaired the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group with former CIA Director John M. Deutch, which urged greater attention to terrorism. From 1998 to 2000, he was deputy to William J. Perry in the North Korea Policy Review and traveled with him to Pyongyang. In 2001-2002, he served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism and advised on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Carter was twice awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award given by the Department. In addition to his current position at the Kennedy School, Carter is Co-Director (with former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry) of the Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration of Harvard and Stanford Universities.

April Boyd, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Commerce
For the past 2 1/2 years, Boyd served as Chief of Staff to Rep. Ellen Tauscher from California where she had also served as her Communications Director from 2001 to 2004. As Tauscher’s Chief of Staff, Boyd worked extensively with the House New Democrat Coalition, which Tauscher chairs.  Boyd also served as Senator John Kerry’s National Press Secretary for two years.  In 2000 April Boyd was Press Officer and Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of Energy and before that worked as Media Liaison for the U.S. General Services Administration.

Tom Strickland, Chief of Staff and Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior
Strickland is presently the Chief of Staff to Secretary Salazar.  Prior to that he was UnitedHealth Group’s Chief Legal Officer. He previously served as a U.S. Attorney in Colorado from 1999-2000 and managing partner at Hogan & Hartson’s Denver office. Strickland ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Colorado against Wayne Allard in both 1996 and 2002. During Strickland’s campaigns for U.S. Senate, he voiced public support for providing new tools and resources to help communities reduce traffic congestion, preserve open space, and grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life. He also pledged to be a strong advocate of protecting air and water quality through strengthening and enforcing the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Strickland was involved in the 2000 historic water rights settlement reached in San Luis Valley. The settlement provided previously unachieved protection of the watersheds in the Rio Grande and Gunnison National Forests, which in turn would help preserve fish and wildlife, riparian ecosystems, scenic and aesthetic resources, soil conservation efforts, range uses, public outdoor recreation, and fire prevention and control activities while also protecting existing water rights in the valley from the uncertainty created by the Forest Service’s claim for federal reserved water rights.

The White House also made the following announcement today:

Steve Rattner, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury
Rattner will join the Treasury Department as Counselor to the Secretary where he will serve as an adviser on a variety of economic and financial matters, and will lead the Treasury’s efforts with regard to the automobile sector.  Rattner most recently was Managing Principal at Quadrangle Group, LLC since 2000. Prior to that, he was Deputy Chairman at Lazard Frères & Co. LLC. At Lazard Frères & Co. LLC he also served as Deputy Chief Executive from 1997-1999 and Managing Director from 1989 – 1997.  From 1984 -1989, Rattner served as Associate, Vice President, Principal and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and Associate, Vice President at Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, Inc from 1982-1984.  He was a correspondent for The New York Times from 1975 – 1982. Rattner received his B.A. with Honors in Economics from Brown University in 1974, and awarded Harvey Baker Fellowship for Graduate Study.

-The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

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