The word from the transition team for Obama is that Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is his choice for Secretary of Homeland Security.
Gov. Napolitano, whose handling of immigration issues brought her praise from fellow governors, was an early supporter and campaigner for Obama’s presidential campaign and was reported to be on a short list of people to fill cabinet posts in the new administration.
Napolitano’s stance on illegal immigration is what brought her to my attention a few years ago.
Among the nation’s top Democrats, Napolitano has developed some of the toughest policies against illegal immigration. She was one of the first major politicians to call for deployment of the National Guard along the border and declared a state of emergency in her state’s counties nearest Mexico. She has aggressively pursued smugglers in Arizona. In February, she joined with Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) to outline a plan for immigration reform that called for more funding for border security, more visas for foreign workers and no blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants.
She’s also a true defender of 2nd Amendment rights. This is Napolitano in 2002:
Q: What is your position on the second amendment?
A: The right to bear arms is enumerated in the Constitution, and is therefore fundamental to the liberty interests of all Americans. I believe elected officials have a duty to ensure that these interests are not abridged. My position on the 2nd Amendment is simple: existing laws related to firearms and their possession are a sufficient framework by which to ensure the safety of all Arizonans. Rather than focusing on new legislation, we must first be vigilant in our enforcement of the laws that are on the books. We must step up outreach and education efforts to ensure that gun safety is at the top the agenda, and work together to mitigate tragic accidents that result from unsupervised firearm use by children. Parents talking to their children about gun safety and practicing gun safety in front of them will accomplish this goal, new legislation will not.
I would think and hope that such an attitude would see to it that the kind of abuses that Mayor Nagin of New Orleans ordered in the aftermath of Katrina would never occur again. Perhaps DHS doesn’t have authority over local police forces but she can damn sure keep any DHS assets from participating. I’m sure more commentary will be coming to light about the Governor in the next few days and some of that will likely be very illuminating. For the time being, I’ll count this as a positive and keep watching.