By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), whose handling of immigration issues brought her accolades from fellow governors, is President-elect Barack Obama's choice to serve as secretary of homeland security, Democratic sources said late Wednesday.
Napolitano, 50, was an early supporter of Obama and was the only elected official tapped to serve on his transition team. She was reelected in 2006 to a second term as governor of Arizona, the home state of Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in the race against Obama. Napolitano previously served as U.S. attorney and state attorney general for Arizona; she was the first woman in both of those posts.
Napolitano's selection was made pending vetting, sources said, and was first reported by CNN.
The governor's spokeswoman, Jeanine L'Ecuyer, said Napolitano had no comment.
"She's not looking for another job, and the president-elect will announce his Cabinet selection when he's ready to do that," L'Ecuyer said.
Napolitano, pegged as a rising Democratic star, addressed the party's 2004 and 2008 presidential conventions. She was the first governor to call for National Guard troops to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, and in 2006 she became the first female governor to chair the National Governors Association.
She first came to national prominence in 1991 when she served as a lawyer for Anita Hill in her sexual harassment case against then-nominee and later Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.