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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 01/29/10

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

  • Larry Robinson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Conservation and Management), NOAA, Department of Commerce
  • Jeffrey A. Lane, Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Energy
  • Paul Steven Miller, Governor, Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
  • Dennis J. Toner, Governor, Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
  • J. Patricia Wilson Smoot, Commissioner, United States Parole Commission, Department of Justice
  • Lana Pollack,  Commissioner, International Joint Commission, Department of State

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these distinguished men and women have chosen to join my Administration as we work to bring about real change for the American people. I am grateful for their decision to serve, and look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced today his intent to nominate the following individuals:

Larry Robinson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Conservation and Management), NOAA, Department of Commerce
Dr. Larry Robinson is the Vice President for Research and a professor in the Environmental Sciences Institute at Florida A&M University (FAMU).  Since 2001, he has served as Director of the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) headquartered at FAMU, which is a multi-institutional consortium of predominantly minority-serving institutions which conducts research, education and outreach to improve the scientific basis of coastal resource management.  From 1997 to 2003, Dr. Robinson directed FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute where he led efforts to establish B.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in 1998 and 1999, respectively.  Between 1984 and 1997, Dr. Robinson served as a research scientist and a group leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  Dr. Robinson attended LeMoyne-Owen College in 1975, graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry from Memphis State University in 1979, and earned a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1984.

Jeffrey A. Lane, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Energy
Jeffrey A. Lane is a Capitol Hill veteran who has spent more than 15 years in senior positions in the United States Senate.  Most recently, Mr. Lane served as chief of staff for Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado (2009), Ken Salazar of Colorado (2007-2009) and John Edwards of North Carolina (2000-2002).  He helped direct Senator Salazar's legislative work on the Energy and Natural Resources, Agriculture and Finance Committees. Mr. Lane also served for three years as a senior aide to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.  He began his Senate career as the legislative director for Tennessee Senator James Sasser, where he worked as Senator Sasser's lead staffer on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. Mr. Lane also worked in the Clinton Administration as an attorney in the General Counsel's office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. He also served as Counsel at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice from 2002-2006.

Paul Steven Miller, Nominee for Governor, Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
Paul Steven Miller is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law who is an expert in workplace and employment law.  He has spent his career moving between academia, public service, and law practice. Most recently, Professor Miller spent the first nine months of the Obama Administration as a Special Assistant to the President in The White House.  Prior to joining the University of Washington faculty in 2004, Professor Miller had been one of the longest serving commissioners of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency which enforces employment discrimination laws.  He has also served in The White House as Liaison to the Disability Community and as Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs during the Clinton Administration. Earlier in his career, Professor Miller was the Director of Litigation for the Western Law Center for Disability Rights and a lawyer at the Los Angeles law firm of Manatt Phelps and Phillips.  He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude, and the Harvard Law School.

Dennis J. Toner, Nominee for Governor, Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
Dennis J. Toner has directed policy, public and political affairs for over 30 years for then-Senator and now-Vice President Biden. He most recently served as Finance Director for Biden for President and Citizens for Biden. He spent the 30 years prior to that working for then-Senator Biden in his Senate office. He last held the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for the Senator from 1995 to 2005. He has also previously launched his own business, Horizon Advisors, which provides guidance and advice to private clients and non-profit organizations. He received his B.A. from the University of Delaware.

J. Patricia Wilson Smoot, Nominee for Commissioner, United States Parole Commission, Department of Justice
J. Patricia Wilson Smoot has served as the Deputy State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County, Maryland since 2002.  Outside of being an adviser to the State’s Attorney, she is responsible for overseeing the Sex Offense and Child Abuse Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit, the Juvenile Division, and the District Court Division.  From 1994 to 2002, Ms. Smoot was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia where she served as a line assistant before she became Deputy Chief of the Misdemeanor Trial Division and next Director of Professional Development.  She has served on a number of boards and committees including the National Black Prosecutors Association, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Abuse, Prince George’s County Criminal Justice Coordination Council, and the Prince George’s County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team.  Ms. Smoot has also served as a Public Defender in Prince George’s County, as an associate at a tort defense litigation firm, and as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Susan R. Holmes Winfield in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.  Ms. Smoot holds a B.A. in English and Sociology with a concentration in Legal Studies from Bucknell University and a J.D. from Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

Lana Pollack, Nominee for Commissioner, International Joint Commission, Department of State
A Michigan native, Lana Pollack was elected three times to the Michigan legislature, serving as a state Senator from 1983-1994. Following her tenure in public office, she served from 1996-2008 as President of the Michigan Environmental Council, a coalition of 70 environmental organizations working to protect North America’s Great Lakes and Michigan’s natural resources and environment.  As a state Senator, Ms. Pollack became a leading advocate for women, children and the environment. In this capacity, she earned praise as the architect of Michigan’s landmark 1990 polluter pay statute which, before it was repealed in 1995, saved taxpayers $100 million by requiring proven polluters to pay for the cleanup of toxic waste.  In addition to these roles, Ms. Pollack was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, taught at the University of Michigan, was elected a trustee of the Ann Arbor Board of Education, and served on a number of educational, non-profit and corporate boards.  Among these boards, Ms. Pollack currently chairs the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, which annually directs $35-50 million in discretionary public funds to protect, purchase and enhance parkland and open space for preservation and recreation. She has also served on the boards of NextEnergy (which promotes the development and commercialization of technologies advancing a low-carbon economy), ReCellular (the world’s largest recycler of cell phones) and the University of Michigan’s Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute.  Ms. Pollack, who grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in the town of Ludington, earned a BA in political science from the University of Michigan (U-M) in 1965, and an MA in Education from U-M in 1970.