President-elect George W. Bush has announced three more Cabinet nominees, including a Democrat, completing the task of choosing his administration’s key figures prior to his inauguration on January 20.
Bush has chosen the current Secretary of Commerce, Norman Y. Mineta, to be Secretary of Transportation. Mineta has held his current job for only six months. He was appointed after Bush’s opponent, Vice-President Al Gore, chose the then Commerce Secretary, Bill Daley, as his campaign chairman.
Mineta was offered the job of Transportation Secretary by Bill Clinton in 1992, but declined it because he was then a member of the House of Representatives and in line for a committee chairmanship. He served 20 years in the House.
Another defeated Republican senator, Spencer Abraham, from Michigan, will be Secretary of Energy. Abraham lost his Senate seat after just one six-year term to Debbie Stabenow. Earlier, he had been Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice-President Dan Quayle.
Bush has also chosen Linda Chavez to be Secretary of Labor. She served as director of the Civil Rights Commission under President Reagan in the 1980s and is regarded as a conservative, despite beginning her political life working for Democrats.
Chavez’s appointment means there will be 3 women and two Hispanics in the Bush cabinet. Mineta is an Asian-American, whilst Abraham is of Lebanese descent.
Bush has yet to name an ambassador to the United Nations or a director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In earlier administrations, these positions have been handy stepping stones for the incumbents. Bush’s father was CIA director under President Ford, whilst the current Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was previously UN ambassador.
All Cabinet nominees have to confirmed in their positions by a vote of the Senate. John Ashcroft’s nomination for Attorney-General remains the position most likely to face tough scrutiny in the Senate.