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Obama's Second Term Cabinet To Have New Look

Max Schwartz |
February 2, 2013 | 3:18 p.m. PST

Executive Producer


The Eisenhower Executive Office Building (Sue Waters/Creative Commons)
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building (Sue Waters/Creative Commons)
President Obama's cabinet will be noticeably different than the cabinet used to help the Administration through the first four years. Many secretaries who previously stood by the president decided to return home. The most recent departure occurred on Friday when Secretary Steven Chu announced his resignation. The president is facing some criticism for not nominating more women to fill the vacant positions.

One of the most notable departure was that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was replaced by John Kerry of Massachusetts. Kerry was sworn in on Friday by Justice Elena Kagan. The president praised Clinton during a speech when he said, Over the last four years, Hillary has been everywhere -- both in her terms of her travels, which have seen her represent America in more countries than any previous Secretary of State, and through her tireless work to restore our global leadership." 

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is still on the job, but he too will be leaving in the near future. His official resignation date depends on when the Senate confirms a successor and if Obama has his way, Panetta's successor will be Chuck Hagel. Hagel, however, faces an uphill confirmation battle. The president commended Panetta in a  separate speech by saying, "…I am especially grateful to Leon Panetta, who has led the CIA and our military with incredible skill."

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner left his post during the final week of January. Geithner was by the president's side as he took on the "fiscal cliff" crisis and the debt ceiling, among the other financial problems the United States faced. Geithner was also there when the unemployment rate started to decline. Geithner will be permanently replaced by Jacob "Jack" Lew. Acting Secretary Neal Wolin is leading the Treasury Department until Lew is confirmed by the Senate.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will also be one of the secretaries to depart Washington, D.C. for home, which in his case is Colorado. The president praised Secretary Salazar in a statement released by the White House. The president remarked, "As the Secretary of the Interior, Ken has helped usher in a new ear of conservation for our nation's land, water and wildlife…Ken has played an integral role in…successful efforts to expand responsible development of our nation's domestic energy resources."

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood resigned as well, but, for now, is still on the job. In a statement released by the White House, the president thanked Secretary LaHood and recognized his service as secretary. The president said, "…he has fought to create jobs and grow our economy by rebuilding our roads, bridges and transit systems." There has been talk about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa possibly replacing LaHood when his mayoral term ends.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Friday he would be leaving the cabinet. The president praised Chu in a statement released on Friday with, "…during his time as Secretary, Steve helped my Administration move America towards real energy independence."

The departments of Commerce and Labor have acting secretaries at the present time. This means that a permanent secretary has not yet been confirmed by the Senate. John Bryson resigned from being head of the Commerce Department after multiple car accidents. The former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis returned to Southern California and is considering running for the County Board of Supervisors.


Look at the full list of secretaries here.



Reach Executive Producer Max Schwartz here; follow him on Twitter here.







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