At a time when many are questioning the diversity of President Obama’s cabinet, new Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) is offering a few suggestions.
Fudge wrote President Obama and asked him to consider Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Mel Watt (D-NC) for cabinet positions. Fudge suggested Watt would do well as the Secretry of Commerce and that Lee would be a fine replacement for Secretary of Labor.
Watt has served on the House Financial Services Committee for twenty years. Lee is a member of the Appropriations Committee who has been an advocate in Congress for the unemployed.
The current Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, announced she will soon leave the position. The job of Secretary of Commerce has been officially vacant since John Bryson resigned in June after being arrested for drunk driving. The acting Secretary of Commerce is Rebecca Blank.
Issues of diversity and the President’s cabinet have come up before. Interestingly, the first Black President of the United States is behind the two President’s before him regarding the issue of the number of Blacks hired in the cabinet. But, with four full years left, President Obama has plenty of time to catch up.
How does President Obama rank when compared to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush with regard to the number of Blacks hired for top jobs?
The current tally so far:
President Obama 4 (in 4 years)
President Clinton 9 (in 8 years)
President Bush 6 (in 8 years)
The full letter from Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge to President Obama:
As you consider candidates for your cabinet, it is with great privilege that I recommend Congressman Melvin Watt of North Carolina for the position of Secretary of Commerce and Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California for the position of Secretary of Labor. Both Melvin Watt and Barbara Lee have served the American people in the United States House of Representatives and the citizens of their respective Congressional districts with distinction.
Congressman Watt and Congresswoman Lee are exceptionally well-qualified, proven candidates. It is without reservation that I urge you to strongly consider this recommendation. I am available at your convenience should you desire further information.