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Obama’s cabinet shakes up the Senate.

Jan 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: snewz

Caroline Kennedy at Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 97 Warren Street, Manhattan.

Caroline Kennedy at Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 97 Warren Street, Manhattan.

There are four senate seats opening up as of January 20, 2009. President-Elect Barack Obama of Illinois, Vice-President Elect Joe Biden of Delaware, Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton of New York, and Secretary of the Interior Nominee Ken Salazar of Colorado will all be transferring from Congress to the White House. Generally, this is a simple matter in which the Governor of a particular state appoints a qualified member of the citizenry to the vacant seat and the Senate approves the appointment, but the attempt by Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois to sell Obama’s vacant seat has put all appointments under additional scrutiny.

VP-Elect Biden’s seat has been handled in the most traditional manner. Outgoing Governor of Delaware Ruth Ann Minner picked Ted Kaufman on November 24th, 2008 to take over the position until an election in 2010. Kaufman has served four terms on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, having been first appointed in 1995 by Bill Clinton.

The morning of December 9th, 2008 Rod Blagojevich was arrested for charges of corruption including an attempt to sell Obama’s Senate seat. In spite of the fact that he faces impeachment and prison time, Blagojevich has chosen to nominate Roland Burris to the position. The real shame of this nomination is that Burris is a highly qualified individual, having served as State Comptroller for Illinois for 12 years and State Attorney General for 4 years. Burris would serve until a 2010 election, but Senate Democratic leaders have already stated their opposition to his appointment.

Ken Salazar’s position in Colorado has not yet been decided. Governor Bill Ritter has a rather long shortlist, including 3 former state senators, 2 US Senate candidates, a former US attorney, and an Ambassador. Ritter is expected to make his announcement in the coming days.

New York Governor David Paterson has not chosen Hillary Clinton’s replacement, either. There is a great deal of media attention given to Caroline Kennedy’s interest in the position, but there hasn’t been any official statement. Caroline Kennedy may make for a sensible appointment, however. She has a good deal of experience, being a member of the New York and Washington, DC. Bar Associations, served as director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education, and serves as board member for a number of non-profit organizations. Caroline Kennedy makes for a good interim option, as she has name recognition, experience, and a commitment to the betterment of her fellow citizens. There are a large number of other candidates for the position, but so far, Paterson has remained quiet on the issue.

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