|Shortly before Christmas, Obama announced that he is nominating Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts to be secretary of state. He will be confirmed with no trouble, as Republicans are eager for another chance to elect Scott Brown.
Timothy Geithner is finally resigning as Treasury secretary (years too late in my opinion). One possible replacement is the president's current Chief of Staff Jack Lew.
At the Pentagon, Obama is reportedly tapping former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. The neocons will fight that nomination for the wrong reasons.
I was very disappointed to learn that Lisa Jackson is leaving as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. She is one of the best in Obama's cabinet and could have accomplished even more if he hadn't repeatedly undercut her to curry favor with business or postpone controversy until after the 2012 election. I fear the New York Post may be right that Jackson is quitting so that she doesn't have to be part of the cabinet when Obama green-lights the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Outgoing Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is a leading contender to replace Jackson at EPA.
According to Ben German of The Hill,
Jackson's departure is part of what's expected to be a larger shakeup of Obama's environment and energy team.
Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has already announced plans to leave, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu is widely expected to depart as well.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in 2011 that he would not be around for a second Obama term, but more recently he said he would consider staying on. Advocates for a more sustainable transportation policy, supporting mass transit, passenger rail, and safe routes for pedestrians and bicyclists, have warmed to LaHood over the last four years.
I assume Tom Vilsack will stay on as secretary of agriculture. I haven't heard anything about the president wanting a change at the USDA, nor have I heard that Vilsack would like to move on. The coming year will be extremely important for agriculture policy, as Congress tries again to pass a new five-year farm bill.