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Office of the Press Secretary

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Krysta Harden – Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture
  • Alejandro Mayorkas – Deputy Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
  • Ron Binz – Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and upon appointment to be designated Chair
  • Robert Bonnie – Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture
  • Ellen Herbst – Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Commerce
  • Katherine M. O’Regan – Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Captain Susan Rabern, USN, (Ret) – Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller, Department of Defense
  • Steve A. Linick –  Inspector General, Department of State
  • Patrick Gaspard – Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Department of State
  • James Swan – Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Department of State
  • Kirk Wagar – Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore, Department of State
  • Alexa Wesner – Ambassador to the Republic of Austria, Department of State

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Krysta Harden, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture

Krysta Harden is the Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a position she has held since 2011.  Prior to this, Ms. Harden served as Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at USDA from 2009 to 2011.  From 2004 to 2009, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts.  Previously, Ms. Harden was the Senior Vice President of Gordley Associates from 1993 to 2004.  She served as Staff Director for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Peanuts and Tobacco from 1992 to 1993.  From 1981 to 1992, she held a number of roles including Legislative Director, Chief of Staff, and Press Secretary for Congressman Charles Hatcher.  Ms. Harden received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is currently the Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Previously, he was a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP from 2001 to 2009.  He served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California from 1998 to 2001.  From 1989 to 1998, he was the Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California.  He has served on the boards of Bet Tzedek Legal Services and United Friends of the Children.  He served as Chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Ethics and Professionalism and as a Commissioner for the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice.  He received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkley and a J.D. from Loyola Law School.

Ron Binz, Nominee for Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and upon appointment to be designated Chair

Ron Binz is the Principal for Public Policy Consulting, a position he has held since 2011.  He is also a Senior Policy Advisor with the Center for the New Energy Economy.  Previously, Mr. Binz served as Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from 2007 to 2011.  From 1995 to 2006, he was President of Public Policy Consulting, and from 1996 to 2003, he was President and Policy Director of the Competition Policy Institute.  Mr. Binz served as the Director of the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel from 1984 to 1995.  He received a B.A. from St. Louis University and an M.A. from the University of Colorado.

Robert Bonnie, Nominee for Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture

Robert Bonnie is a Senior Policy Advisor at the United States Department of Agriculture, a position he has held since 2009.  Prior to this, he worked for the Environmental Defense Fund where he held a number of roles from 1995 to 2008, including Vice-President of Land Conservation and Wildlife and Managing Director of the Center for Conservation Incentives.  Mr. Bonnie served on the Board of Visitors at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.  He was a member of the Board of Directors for the Piedmont Environmental Council and Scenic America.  Mr. Bonnie received a A.B. from Harvard College and an M.F. and M.E.M. from the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment.

Ellen Herbst, Nominee for Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Commerce

Ellen Herbst is currently Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, a position she has held since 2009.  From 2005 to 2009, Ms. Herbst served as the Director of the National Technical Information Service at the Department of Commerce.  Prior to this, Ms. Herbst was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Spectra Systems Corporation from 2002 to 2005.  She held the same position with Virtual Compliance from 2000 to 2001, and Giesecke & Devrient America from 1996 to 2000.  Previously, Ms. Herbst held a number of roles at the DuPont Company during her 14 year tenure including, Business Manager of the Digital Systems Division and Business Manager of the Equipment Service Division.  Ms. Herbst received a B.S. from the University of Delaware and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Dr. Katherine M. O'Regan, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Dr. Katherine M. O’Regan is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, where she has taught since 2000.  She has also been Director of the Public and Nonprofit Masters Program at Wagner since 2002.  From 2005 to 2007, she was Co-Director at Wagner’s Taub Center for Urban Policy Research, and from November 2002 to June 2004, she was Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs.  Prior to joining the Wagner faculty, Dr. O’Regan spent 10 years teaching at the Yale School of Management.  During her time at Yale, she also served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and as a guest scholar at the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.  Earlier in her career, Dr. O’Regan was an analyst in the Office of Hearings and Appeals at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Her recent board work includes the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, The Reinvestment Fund, and the editorial board for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.  Dr. O’Regan received a B.S. from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Captain Susan Rabern, USN, (Ret), Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller, Department of Defense

Captain Susan Rabern, USN, (Ret), is Director of the Center for Leadership and Ethics at the Virginia Military Institute.  Previously,  she served as Deputy Director for the Office of Military Affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2007 to 2009.  From 2003 to 2007, she was a Special Assistant in the Office of the Superintendent and Chief of Staff at the Virginia Military Institute.  From 2002 to 2003, she was the Chief Financial Officer at USAID.  In 2002, she also served as the Assistant Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer for the then, U.S. Customs Service.  From 2000 to 2002, she was the Assistant Director and Chief Financial Officer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Previously, she served in the U.S. Navy in a number of roles including: Captain and Commanding Officer for U.S. Naval Support Activity from 1998 to 1999, Chief of the Personnel Support Division for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1996 to 1998,  and Commanding Officer for the U.S. Navy Pay and Personnel Support Activity Europe in Naples, Italy from 1993 to 1995.  She also served as a research fellow at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University from 1995 to 1996 and again in 2000.  She received a B.A. from the University of Kansas, an M.B.A. from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Steve A. Linick, Nominee for Inspector General, Department of State

Steve A. Linick is the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a position he has held since October 2010.  From 2006 to 2010, he worked at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as the Executive Director of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force.  In addition, from 2009 to 2010, he was Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section in the DOJ Criminal Division, having served as Acting Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section from 2006 to 2009.  He previously worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia from 1999 to 2006, serving as the Deputy Chief of the Fraud Unit from 2004 to 2006.  He also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California from 1994 to 1999.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Linick served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and as an associate at the law firm Newman & Holtzinger in Washington, D.C.  He received a B.A. and M.A. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Patrick Gaspard, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Department of State

Patrick Gaspard is Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, a position he has held since 2011.  Previously, he served as an Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Affairs from 2009 to 2011.  Prior to that, he was the National Political Director for Obama for America.  He served as the Executive Vice President and Political Director for the Service Employees International Union.  In 2004, he served as the National Field Director for America Coming Together, and from 2003 to 2004, he was the National Deputy Field Director for Dean for America.  From 1998 to 1999, he was the Chief of Staff for the New York City Council.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Gaspard held a number of positions with the City of New York, including Special Assistant in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and Special Assistant in the Office of Mayor Dinkins.   

Ambassador James Swan, Nominee for Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Department of State

Ambassador James Swan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Special Representative for Somalia.  Previously, he served as Ambassador to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011.  Ambassador Swan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2006 to 2008.  Previously, he served as Director of Analysis for Africa in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2005 to 2006.  He was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 2001 to 2004.  Other overseas postings include: Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in Brazzaville, DRC; Political Section Chief in Cameroon; Political Officer in Nicaragua; and Consular Officer in Haiti.  Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a management analyst in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.  Ambassador Swan received a B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Kirk Wagar, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore, Department of State

Kirk Wagar is Founder and Managing Partner of Wagar Law, P.A., a Miami-based law firm that represents individuals and small businesses in insurance disability disputes since 1998.  He served as the Florida Finance Chair for Obama for America in 2008 and 2012.  From 2011 to 2012, Mr. Wagar served on the Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee of the Export Import Bank.  Since 2002, he has been a member on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Justice Association.  From 2003 to 2005, he served on the Board of Directors for the Dade County Trial LawyersFrom 1993 to 1994, he was Chief of Staff of the National Model United Nations, where he previously served as Assistant Chief of Staff from 1992 to 1993.  He received a B.A. from Roberts Wesleyan College and a J.D. from the University of Miami.

Alexa Wesner, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Austria, Department of State

Alexa Wesner is Founder and Chair of Be One Texas, a collaborative that directs investment in groups doing civic engagement, voter registration, and Get Out the Vote among under-represented populations in Texas.  She was appointed as a Member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2009.  From 1997 to 2002, she served as Co-Founder and President of HireTECH, a high technology recruiting and consulting firm in Austin, Texas.  From 1994 to 1997, she worked at Trilogy, a sales and marketing software company, first as the Director of Recruiting and then as a Director of Marketing.  Ms. Wesner served as Chair of the Citizens Committee for the Texas A&M University System Proposal to Develop a Center for Innovation and Advanced Development and Manufacturing.  Additionally, she has served on the boards of and worked with a variety of nonprofits in Texas, including the Austin Film Society, Breakthrough Austin, Austin Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum, LifeWorks, Arthouse, GENaustin, and the Downtown Austin Parks Committee.  Ms. Wesner received a B.A. from Stanford University.

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