Clinton appoints women to top posts

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The Independent Online
THE president-elect, Bill Clinton, yesterday moved to give his future administration the imprint of real change by naming three women - all unfamiliar faces in Washington - to important domestic posts. He also picked a close friend and fellow Oxford Rhodes Scholar, Robert Reich, for the important cabinet job of Labour Secretary.

These appointments are in marked contrast to the first round of nominations on Thursday, of seasoned Washington and Wall Street hands as his principal economic team. Yesterday Mr Clinton began to fulfil his campaign pledge to create an administration that 'looks like America', with its share of women and racial minorities.

Yesterday he named Carol Browner, currently in charge of environmental regulations in Florida and a former aide of the vice- president-elect, Al Gore, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The choice would underline the role of Mr Gore, an ardent environmentalist, in the nominating process.

Donna Shalala, chancellor of Madison University of Wisconsin, will become Secretary of Health and Human Services, with the massive challenge of delivering the promised reform of the health care system. A third woman, Laura Tyson of California's Berkeley University, will chair the President's Council of Economic Advisors - although it was not clear how this would fit in with the new National Economic Council to be chaired by the Wall Street investment banker, Robert Rubin.

The choice of Mr Reich, too, represents a liberal, more interventionist tilt. A political scientist at Harvard who has headed Mr Clinton's economic transition team, Mr Reich has consistently given more priority to growth over deficit-cutting. Business is uneasy at his arrival, but most union leaders are enthusiastic over his advocacy of vocational training.

Still more cabinet members will be named soon. They are likely to include former Colorado senator Timothy Worth as energy secretary, and former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros, who will probably take over Housing and Urban Development. The ex-Arizona governor, Bruce Babbitt, a Democratic presidential candidate in 1988, is expected to be the next secretary of the interior.

A federal judge threw out last night a key charge in the Iran- Contra case against the former defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger. The judge said the charge that Mr Weinberger lied to Congress violated a five-year statute of limitations, AP reports.