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Cabinet Profile Janet Napolitano

Department of Homeland Security

Janet Napolitano



With his pick of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be his secretary of homeland security, President Barack Obama rewarded one of his earliest supporters among the Democratic establishment. She was named by Mr. Obama on Dec. 1, 2008, and if confirmed she will be the third leader of the department created in 2002. The 51-year-old second term governor of a border state has been known for taking the middle ground on immigration, calling for tougher enforcement of the border but opposing several state proposals that would punish illegal immigrants already living in the state.

Prior to her election as governor of Arizona, she served as the state's attorney general. She also served as a U.S. Attorney during the Clinton administration and spent several years in private practice. Her undergraduate degree is from Santa Clara University and her law degree is from the University of Virginia. She is also a breast cancer survivor.

Napolitano was confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2009.

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