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  • For Donald Trump, the Honeymoon was Over Before It Even Began

    Friday, January 20, 2017
    In the 72 years since Harry Truman became President and Gallup began asking about presidential approval, Donald Trump is the only President to start his term with a majority of Americans disapproving of his job performance. Trump’s numbers at his inauguration—usually one of the high points of a president’s popularity—are closer to those of a failing president than a newly minted one. In fact, Trump’s inaugural job disapproval numbers are nearly off the charts.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Indian Health Service: Who Is Mary L. Smith?

    Friday, January 20, 2017
    In 2007, Smith joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. After Obama won the presidency, Smith was named to the Dept of Justice transition team, then nominated as Assistant Attorney General in charge of tax issues. However, Senate Republicans blocked her appointment. She worked as a counselor in the Justice Department’s civil division until 2011, when her nomination was turned down. Smith returned to the Obama administration in 2015, this time to the Indian Health Service.   read more
  • Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Who Is Andrew Bindman?

    Thursday, January 19, 2017
    Bindman has done several studies on healthcare involving those in poverty. He has also investigated the link between access to care and preventable hospitalizations. Bindman was named San Francisco General’s chief of general internal medicine in 1996. In 1999 and 2000, he served as visiting professor at University College London, then from 2009 to 2010 he worked on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, helping draft language for the Affordable Care Act.   read more
  • Director, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Who Is Ileana Arias?

    Thursday, January 19, 2017
    Arias’ field of expertise is violence among intimate partners and family. She moved to CDC in 2000 and was chief of the Etiology and Surveillance Branch in National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Division of Violence Prevention. By 2004 she was acting director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and was named director the following year.   read more
  • Secretary of Treasury: Who Is Steven Mnuchin?

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    Steven Mnuchin foreclosed on at least 50,000 homes during the Great Recession. In fact, in 2011, a federal investigation forced Mnuchin's bank to agree to the issuance of a Consent Order to remedy numerous abusive practices it was using to make money. Recently, a complaint filed with the Dept of Housing accused his bank of violating the Fair Housing Act by “redlining,” an illegal practice of not doing business in minority neighborhoods in order to avoid making home loans to minorities.   read more
  • Secretary of Commerce: Who Is Wilbur Ross?

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    Trump, who has put several of his businesses into bankruptcy, nominated the so-called “King of Bankruptcy,” Wilbur Ross, to be his Commerce Secretary. Ross is currently on the board of directors of 59 different companies, including ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel firm. ArcelorMittal could be a beneficiary of Ross’ decisions as Commerce secretary. “He might be the second-most complicated person in the administration to vet, behind the President-elect himself,” said ethics lawyer Eisen.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Administration for Community Living: Who Is Edwin Walker?

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Walker worked for Missouri’s Dept of Social Services and in 1988 was named director of the Missouri Division of Aging. He pushed through a program that made it easier for the elderly to remain in their homes, instead of being forced into nursing facilities. Walker joined the Administration on Aging in 1992 as associate commissioner for State and Community Programs. He later moved up to be Director of Program Operations and Development, and by 2009 was Deputy Assistant Secretary at AoA.   read more
  • Acting Director, Office of Legacy Management: Who Is Thomas Pauling?

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Much of Pauling’s tenure with the Department of Energy includes 11 years working on the cleanup of the Weldon Springs weapons manufacturing site near St. Louis. A World War II munitions factory was on the site and later the DOE processed uranium ore there. A quarry was filled with contaminants including uranium. Pauling worked on the cleanup from the early 1990s to 2004. The site is now a tourist attraction.   read more
  • Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Who Is Martin Keller?

    Monday, January 16, 2017
    A native of Germany, Keller came to the U.S. in 1994 as a consultant for biotech firm Diversa. He then joined the company full time and became director of screening and technology development. Diversa worked to turn organisms into enzymes that were used in chemicals. Keller even took organisms from boiling-hot thermal pools at Yellowstone National Park to be used in different compounds. Keller's work at Oak Ridge Lab centered on developing biological replacements for petroleum-based fuels.   read more
  • Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security: Who Is Matthew Moury?

    Monday, January 16, 2017
    In 1992, Moury joined the DNFSB as a group lead and served in senior leadership positions for nearly two decades. In 2011 he was appointed as a deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Environmental Management. In 2014, Moury gave the Energy Dept’s response to the firing by a contractor of whistleblower Donna Busche, who reported on unsafe cleanup practices at the Hanford nuclear facility. Moury said the department had nothing to do with the dismissal of Busche by her employer, URS.   read more
  • Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Who Is David Friedman?

    Monday, January 16, 2017
    Friedman was grilled in 2014 by a Senate committee on the GM problem. Sen. McCaskill pointed out that consumers had complained about the failing ignition switches and a Wisconsin state trooper had warned NHTSA about them. “Why can't you take responsibility?” McCaskill asked Friedman. “You have got to take some responsibility that this isn't being handled correctly for the American driving public.” Friedman was moved to EERE as principal deputy administrator, a better fit for his skillset.   read more
  • Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Sue Swenson?

    Saturday, January 14, 2017
    Swenson's background is in marketing, but she became interested in the plight of the disabled after one of her three sons, Charlie, was found not long after his birth to be profoundly disabled.She began learning how to advocate for her son’s needs and started to work for the rights of all disabled. She testified about the disabled before a U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1993 and, three years later, she found herself working with that subcommittee as a Kennedy Fellow in the Senate.   read more
  • Acting Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education: Who Is Johan Uvin?

    Saturday, January 14, 2017
    A native of the Netherlands, Uvin worked for Commonwealth Corp. in 2000, as a workplace learning specialist and, a year later,as a vice president. There, he conducted studies on how those in workforce development programs fared on the job. For the state of Rhode Island, Uvin worked as director of adult education, then as director of the Office of Adult, Career and Technical Education. He joined the Dept of Education in 2009 as a senior policy adviser to Asst Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier.   read more
  • Director of the Institute of Educational Sciences: Who Is Ruth Curran Neild?

    Saturday, January 14, 2017
    Some of Curran Neild’s work involved the link between students’ success in ninth grade and their likelihood of graduating from high school. She joined the IES in 2011 as associate commissioner and in 2012 was named commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. In 2015, she was named deputy director for policy and research. In January 2017, Curran Neild announced she was leaving the Education Dept for the nonprofit Research for Action.   read more
  • Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Who Is Norman Bay?

    Friday, January 13, 2017
    Bay became the first Chinese-American U.S. Attorney during the Wen Ho Lee case. The government was accused of prosecuting Lee due to his Chinese background and Lee was held without bail for months. Bay helped negotiate the plea deal that freed Lee. Bay's nomination to chair FERC brought pushback from a disgruntled energy industry and some senators who said a FERC employee shouldn’t jump to the chairmanship without having served on the commission. So Bay did so prior to taking over as chairman.   read more
  • Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement: Who Is Nadya Chinoy Dabby?

    Friday, January 13, 2017
    Dabby had to defend the Education Dept’s record $32.5-million grant of charter school funding to Ohio. Investigations have shown that Ohio’s program is one of the most troubled in the country. “Ohio has a pretty good mechanism in place to improve overall quality and oversight,” Dabby said without providing details. “There’s always room for them to grow,” she added. Later that year, the Education Dept put a hold on the funding, saying it hadn’t been aware of all the program's problems.   read more
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Innovation: Who Is Lynn B. Mahaffie?

    Friday, January 13, 2017
    The early part of Mahaffie’s career was spent working in a Washington, D.C., law firm. She joined the Education Department in 2002. Mahaffie has been forced to defend her office’s role in overseeing the accreditation of some failing institutions, such as for-profit colleges that have gone bankrupt. She also helped roll out an expansion of the Clery Act, which mandates that crimes related to sexual assault be reported by institutions of higher education that receive federal funding.   read more
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