Ridge resigns, police commissioner to take over

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, resigned from his post last week.

“As the Department’s first leader, Tom oversaw the large reorganization — the largest reorganization of the government in nearly a half-century,” said President George W. Bush. “He met urgent challenges with patience and purpose, and because of his service our country is safer.”

Ridge cited his family and personal life as reasons why he was resigning from his position. In his resignation letter, Ridge said he will stay on the job until Feb. 1, 2005.

It is “time to give personal and family matters a higher priority,” he said. Bush has nominated Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to replace Ridge. Along with being the New York City Police Commissioner during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Kerik was a beat cop in New York City, a jail warden in New Jersey, a military police officer in Korea, and most recently he helped train the police force under the Iraqi interim government.

“In every position, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, a heart for the innocent, and a record of great success,” Bush said.

Kerik’s nomination is expected to be confirmed by Congress.

“Coming from New York, Bernie Kerik knows the great needs and challenges this country faces in homeland security,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement.

Due to congressional insistence, the Department Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11 attacks. Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor, was sworn in as the first secretary in January of 2003.

Since President Bush’s re-election, eight of his 15 cabinet members have resigned. The other resignations include Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture, Don Evans, Secretary of Commerce, Rod Paige, Secretary of Education, Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy, John Ashcroft, Secretary of Justice, Colin Powell, Secretary of State, and Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services. Cabinet member resignations are quite common amongst two-term presidents. In Dwight Eisenhower’s second term three of the then 10-member cabinet resigned, half of Richard Nixon’s 12-member cabinet left, five of Ronald Reagan’s 14-member cabinet members changed, and Bill Clinton replaced seven of his 14-member cabinet members in his second term along with four cabinet members in his first term, according to presidential scholar Martha Kumar.

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