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The White House

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 2-24-09


Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            April 24, 2009

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security; Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Department of State; Jamie M. Morin, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management, Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense; Thomas R. Lamont, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of the Army, Department of Defense; Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large, Department of State; Pearlie S. Reed, Assistant Secretary for Administration, United States Department of Agriculture; Craig Becker, Board Member, National Labor Relations Board; and Mark Pearce, Board Member, National Labor Relations Board.

President Obama said, "This group of impressive and distinguished individuals brings decades of service and expertise to my administration. I am confident that they will serve with the highest ideals of our nation in mind. I am honored that they have decided to join our team and look forward to working with them in the future."

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

Alejandro Mayorkas, Nominee for Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security
Mayorkas is currently a partner at O'Melveny and Myers, and previously served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California.  As a litigation partner at O'Melveny, Mr. Mayorkas represents Fortune 100 and other companies in their highest profile and most complex and sensitive matters throughout the country and the world. He advises boards of directors and top executives, tries cases, leads internal investigations, and litigates bet-the-company matters in a wide array of industries, including telecommunications, health care, consumer safety, sports and entertainment, aerospace, media, and real estate. At 39 he was the youngest U.S. Attorney in the nation and the first in the Central District of California to be appointed from within the Office.  Mayorkas led an office of 240 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the prosecution of cases in varied areas of law enforcement, including cases of public corruption, investment fraud, civil rights violations, high-tech and computer-related crime, organized crime, environmental crime, and international money laundering. The National Law Journal recently named Mr. Mayorkas one of the "50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America."

Robert O. Blake, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Department of State
Ambassador Blake is a career Foreign Service Officer.  He entered the Foreign Service in 1985. He has served at the American Embassies in Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt. He also has held a number of positions at the State Department in Washington. Most recently Ambassador Blake served as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and to the Republic of Maldives. Before that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission in New Delhi, India from 2003 to 2006. Ambassador Blake earned a B.A. from Harvard College in 1980 and an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 1984.

Jamie M. Morin, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management, Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense
Mr. Morin is currently the senior defense analyst with the US Senate Committee on the Budget.  He was previously a national fellow with the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, where he conducted independent research and lectured to undergraduate courses on defense policy.   In 2001 he was a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, where he conducted research for the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment.  He has also worked as an international economic development consultant with J.E. Austin Associates and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.    Morin has a PhD in Political Science from Yale University, an MS in public administration and public policy from the London School of Economics, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Thomas R. Lamont, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of the Army, Department of Defense
Mr. Lamont is the former Chair of University of Illinois Board of Trustees, a Colonel in the Illinois National Guard and served as the Staff Judge Advocate General.  He is also a longtime Springfield attorney and partner at Gordon & Glickson and Altheimer & Gray, and the Springfield firm of Brown, Hay & Stephens.  He concentrated his practice in Government Law and Legislative Affairs. In the public arena, Mr. Lamont has served as executive director, Office of the State Attorney Appellate Prosecutor, Director of Civil Litigation in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and currently, as Special Counsel to the University of Illinois.  In 1990, Mr. Lamont was elected to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.  In addition, he has served as a trustee of the State University Retirement System, a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the U.S. Senate Judicial Nomination Commission.  Mr. Lamont received his bachelor's degree from Illinois State University in 1969 and earned his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1972.

Daniel Benjamin, Nominee for Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large, Department of State
Daniel Benjamin is director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.   Prior to joining Brookings in 2006, he spent six years as a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  From 1994 to1999, Benjamin served on the National Security Council staff:  In 1998-1999, he was director for counterterrorism within the Directorate of Transnational Threats in 1998-1999; prior to that, he was a foreign policy speechwriter and special assistant to President Clinton.  Before entering the government, Benjamin was a foreign correspondent for TIME Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Daniel Benjamin has co-written two books:  The Age of Sacred Terror was published by Random House in 2002 and documents the rise of religiously motivated terrorism and American efforts to combat it. The book was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2002 and given the Arthur Ross Book Award of the Council on Foreign Relations for the best book of the year on international affairs. The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting it Right, was published by Holt/Times Books in 2005 and named a Washington Post "Best Book" of 2005.  Mr. Benjamin has written numerous articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, TIME, the Los Angeles Times and other publications.  He holds degrees from Harvard and Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar.

Pearlie S. Reed, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Administration, United States Department of Agriculture
Pearlie S. Reed is a consultant specializing in Agriculture, Conservation, Economic Development and Management.  He served as Regional Conservationist for the Western Region of the United States from May 5, 2002, to July 3, 2003.  The region served includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pacific Basin Area, Utah, and Washington.  Mr. Reed served as chief executive officer for USDA's conservation agency for private land from March 1, 1998, to May 4, 2002.  He was responsible for a Federal budget of $1.3 billion.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works directly with landowners to help protect the Nation's soil and water resources on private land in a voluntary, science-based approach.  NRCS also works in partnership with a broad array of state and local groups to sustain and enhance environmental quality.  Mr. Reed began his career with the Soil Conservation Service -- predecessor of NRCS -- in 1968 as a student trainee.  He has served in four states, including Maryland and California, where he was state conservationist, responsible for leading comprehensive soil, water, and resource conservation and development programs in both states.  He has also served as acting assistant secretary for administration for USDA -- from February 1997 until he was named Chief of NRCS in 1998.  Mr. Reed is a native of Heth, Arkansas.  He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a B.S. degree and from The American University in Washington, D.C., with a Master of Public Administration degree.  His numerous awards for leadership include the Professional Service Award from the National Association of Conservation Districts; the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame Award; USDA Silver Plow Honor Awards; the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award -- the highest award that can be bestowed upon a career Senior Executive Service member; and USDA Honor Awards for equal opportunity and civil rights and for his vision and leadership in the most comprehensive reorganization in the history of his agency.

Craig Becker, Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
Craig Becker currently serves as Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations.  He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1978 and received his J.D. in 1981 from Yale Law School where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  For the past 27 years, he has practiced and taught labor law.   He was a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law between 1989 and 1994 and has also taught at the University of Chicago and Georgetown Law Schools.  He has published numerous articles on labor and employment law in scholarly journals, including the Harvard Law Review and Chicago Law Review, and has argued labor and employment cases in virtually every federal court of appeals and before the United States Supreme Court.

Mark Pearce, Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
Mark Gaston Pearce has been a labor lawyer for his entire career.  He is one of the founding partners of the Buffalo, New York law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux where he practices union side labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies including the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. Pearce in 2008 was appointed by the NYS Governor to serve as a Board Member on the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, an independent quasi-judicial agency responsible for review of certain rulings and compliance orders of the NYS Department of Labor in matters including wage and hour law.  Pearce has taught several courses in the labor studies program at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations Extension.   He is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Prior to 2002, Pearce practiced union side labor law and employment law at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP.  From 1979 to 1994, he was an attorney and District Trial Specialist for the NLRB in Buffalo, NY.  Pearce received his J.D. from State University of New York, and his B.A. from Cornell University.