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February 06, 2013

Obama to nominates a woman, the head of outdoor gear retailer, to be interior secretary

President Barack Obama nominated Recreational Equipment Inc. chief executive Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department Wednesday.

It's an unusual choice in part because of her business background. Jewell worked as a commercial banker and an engineer for Mobil Oil before heading up REI.

Since restructuring his staff after several key vacancies at the start of his second term, Obama has been criticized for a less than diverse selection of mostly white men, even to replace women. Jewell is the first woman he has appointed to a Cabinet position in his second term. 

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama believes "diversity is important because it improves the quality of debate and, therefore, the quality of decision-making."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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