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Vilsack reportedly picks John Norris as chief
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The Senate approved seven of President Obama's Cabinet-level appointees
yesterday but delayed a planned vote on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's
confirmation to be secretary of State because of objections from Sen.
John Cornyn (R-Texas) for more financial information about former president
Bill Clinton's charitable foundation – the Senate will hold a roll-call
vote on her nomination today.
The seven nominees approved yesterday: Energy Secretary
Steven Chu, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Secretary
Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Office of Management
and Budget Director Peter Orszag, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki
and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Reports signal that Vilsack has chosen
John Norris, his former chief of staff while governor (from 1999 to 2001),
to be his chief of staff at USDA. Norris is currently
chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board; his wife is Jackie Norris, head
of Obama's Iowa effort during the presidential campaign.
Background: John Norris chaired the Iowa governor’s
working group on electric restructuring. He previously served as Chief
of Staff to Iowa Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell. Some of his
other career highlights include State Director of the Iowa Farm Unity
Coalition from 1986 to 1989, State Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party
in 1998, and Third Congressional District nominee for the Iowa Democratic
Party in 2002. From 2003 to 2004, Norris worked for John Kerry’s
Presidential Campaign as his Iowa State Director and then National Field
Director for the Kerry-Edwards Campaign. He has also owned and managed
a restaurant in Greenfield, Iowa.
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or
retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.