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article imageHomeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano leaving DC for UC

By Kay Mathews     Jul 12, 2013 in Politics
Washington - After more than four years as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Napolitano announced in a statement today that she will be leaving the post to head the University of California System.
Napolitano is the longest-serving homeland security secretary, but after more than four years in the Cabinet post she announced her upcoming departure in a brief statement:
“For more than four years I have had the privilege of serving President Obama and his Administration as the Secretary of Homeland Security. The opportunity to work with the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, who serve on the frontlines of our nation’s efforts to protect our communities and families from harm, has been the highlight of my professional career. We have worked together to minimize threats of all kinds to the American public. The Department has improved the safety of travelers; implemented smart steps that make our immigration system more fair and focused while deploying record resources to protect our nation’s borders; worked with states to build resiliency and make our nation’s emergency and disaster response capabilities more robust; and partnered with the private sector to improve our cybersecurity. After four plus years of focusing on these challenges, I will be nominated as the next President of the University of California to play a role in educating our nation’s next generation of leaders. I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history, and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects.”
An Obama administration official told The Washington Post, "The process was underway for some time, but it didn’t formalize until recently, and she informed the president when she made her decision."
As her DHS biography indicates, Napolitano was serving as the Governor of the State of Arizona prior to her being "sworn in on January 21, 2009 as the third Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security."
During her tenure, Secretary Napolitano has, among many other duties, led responses to the 2010 BP oil spill, Hurricane Sandy, and deadly tornadoes in the Midwest.
The University of California (UC) announcement states that Napolitano has been nominated to serve as its 20th president. During a July 18 meeting in San Francisco, the UC's Board of Regents is expected to act on the recommendation. UC notes that, should the regents approve the appointment, "Napolitano would become the first woman in the university's 145-year history to serve as president."
As president of the UC System, Napolitano would oversee ten campuses, which includes "more than 234,000 students, about 208,000 faculty and staff, more than 1.6 million living alumni and an annual operating budget of more than $24 billion."
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