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President Obama Announces Recess Appointments to Key Administration Posts

Press Release

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Location: Washington, DC

Four Appointees Have Waited an Average of 303 Days for Senate Confirmation

President Obama announced today his intent to recess appoint four nominees to fill key administration posts that have been left vacant for an extended period of time.

"At a time when our nation faces so many pressing challenges, I urge members of the Senate to stop playing politics with our highly qualified nominees, and fulfill their responsibilities of advice and consent," President Obama said. "Until they do, I reserve the right to act within my authority to do what is best for the American people."

The President announced his intent to recess appoint the following nominees:

Maria del Carmen Aponte, Nominee for Chief of Mission, Republic of El Salvador
Maria del Carmen Aponte is currently an attorney and independent consultant with Aponte Consulting and serves on the Board of Directors of Oriental Financial Group. From 2001-2004, Ms. Aponte was the Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). Prior to that, she practiced law for nearly twenty years with Washington D.C. based law firms. Ms. Aponte also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the University of the District of Columbia. She is also a member of the Board of Rosemont College. She served as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association; the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia; and as a member of the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission. In 1979, as a White House Fellow, Ms. Aponte was Special Assistant to United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary Moon Landrieu. Ms. Aponte has a B.A. in Political Science from Rosemont College, an M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University, and a J.D. from Temple University.

Elisabeth Hagen, Nominee for Under Secretary for Food Safety, Department of Agriculture
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen is currently the USDA's Chief Medical Officer, serving as an advisor to USDA mission areas on a wide range of human health issues. Prior to her current post, she was a senior executive in the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), where she played a key role in developing and executing the agency's scientific and public health agendas. She has been instrumental in building relationships and fostering coordination with food safety and public health partners at the federal, state, and local level. Before joining the federal government in 2006, Hagen taught and practiced medicine in both the private and academic sectors, most recently in Washington, DC. She holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a B.S. from Saint Joseph's University. Dr. Hagen completed her specialty medical training at the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Pennsylvania, and is board certified in infectious disease.

Winslow Sargeant, Nominee for Chief Counsel of Advocacy, Small Business Administration
Winslow Sargeant is currently a Managing Director in the technology practice at Venture Investors, where he works with entrepreneurs to create innovative companies in underserved communities. From 2001 to 2005, he was the program manager for the Small Business Innovations Research (SBIR) Program in Electronics, a new office in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Engineering Directorate. Previously, Sargeant co-founded Aanetcom, a fabless semiconductor chip startup company with seed funding from Cisco systems which was acquired by PMC-Sierra. Prior to Aanetcom, he held senior engineering positions at Lucent, AT&T Bell Labs and IBM. Sargeant currently serves on the Boards of Silatronix and Pattern Insight. He serves as a Director of the University of Wisconsin Foundation and was the Vice Chairman of the UW-Madison Astronomy Board of Visitors. He is a member of the Boards of Directors of WiCell, WiSys and the Waisman Center. Sargeant is a Trustee for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and also serves on Purdue University Discovery Center's Research Board of Visitors. Sargeant received the inaugural 2002 University of Wisconsin Distinguished Young Alumni Award and was a 2003 Outstanding Engineering Alumni Awardee from Northeastern University. He received a B.S. from Northeastern University, an M.S. from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in Electrical Engineering. He is a member of the society of Kauffman Fellows, Class 11.

Richard Sorian, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services
Richard Sorian is currently a Senior Adviser to the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. Previously, he was Vice President for Public Policy and External Relations for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), where he directed the organization's media relations, policy development and advocacy, and relations with employers, consumers, and other key stakeholders. Before working for NCQA, Sorian was Director of Public Affairs for the Center for Studying Health System Change and a Project Director at the Georgetown University Institute for Health Care Research and Policy. From 1993 to 1998, Sorian was a Senior Advisor for Health Policy Communications in the Office of Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala. In that capacity, Sorian focused on health care reform, HIV/AIDS policy, and health care quality improvement. From 1997 to 1998, he served as Deputy Director of the President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, where he directed work on the Patient's Bill of Rights. From 1980 to 1993, Sorian was an award-winning journalist covering U.S. health care policy development. He was editor of Medicine & Health and the Journal of American Health Policy. He is also the author of three books: The Bitter Pill: Tough Choice in America's Health Policy (1989); A New Deal for American Health Care (1993); and The Health Care 500 (1988). He is a graduate of George Washington University and, in 1989, was awarded a Fellowship for Advanced Studies in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.


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