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Former N.Y. Police Commissioner Nominated to Replace Ridge

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2004 – President Bush announced today the nomination of Bernie Kerik to succeed Tom Ridge as homeland security secretary.

The former New York City police commissioner is an accomplished and effective law enforcement leader, Bush said, citing Kerik's many achievements in field of law enforcement.

"I'm grateful he's agreed to bring his lifetime of security experience and skill to one of the most important positions in the federal government," Bush said. "Bernie is a dedicated, innovative reformer who insists on getting results. His broad, practical, hands-on experience makes Bernie superbly qualified to lead the Department of Homeland Security."

Kerik accepted the president's nomination with the promise to "devote every power I possess toward fulfilling the vital mission you (President Bush) have set before me and the Department of Homeland Security."

He praised first responders, telling them that he looked forward to working with them to protect the nation.

The president also noted that Kerik, who witnessed the events of Sept. 11, 2001, would carry a passion into the post, a sentiment echoed by Kerik. "On Sept. 11, 2001, I witnessed firsthand the very worst of humanity, and its very best," Kerik said. "I saw hatred claim the lives of 2,400 innocent people and I saw the bravest men and women I will ever know rescue more than 20,000 others.

"I promise you, Mr. President, that both the memory of those courageous souls and the horrors I saw inflicted upon our proud nation will serve as permanent reminders of the awesome responsibility you place in my charge."

Tom Ridge announced his resignation as secretary of homeland security in a news conference Nov. 30. He indicated he would step down on Feb. 1, 2005, unless his successor is confirmed before then.

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Related Sites:
Transcript of Nomination Announcement
Department of Homeland Security

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