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Press Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release               May 14, 2014

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Victor M. Mendez – Deputy Secretary, Department of Transportation
  • Robert S. Adler – Commissioner, Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Peter Rogoff – Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Transportation
  • Ted Osius – Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Department of State 
  • Joan A. Polaschik – Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Department of State

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. – Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Eric P. Schwartz – Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people.  I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Victor M. Mendez, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Transportation
Victor M. Mendez has been Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration at the Department of Transportation since 2009 and was designated the Acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation in 2013.  Prior to this position, Mr. Mendez was a member of former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s Cabinet, serving as the Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) from 2003 to 2009.  He worked at ADOT in a variety of roles from 1985 to 1999, including Deputy Director of ADOT, Deputy State Engineer, Assistant State Engineer, Transportation Engineering Supervisor, and Transportation Engineer.  Mr. Mendez began his career in public service working for the U.S. Forest Service, where he served as a Civil Engineer from 1980 to 1985.  Mr. Mendez received a B.S. from the University of Texas at El Paso and an M.B.A from Arizona State University.

Robert S. Adler, Nominee for Commissioner, Consumer Product Safety Commission
Robert S. Adler currently serves as a Commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a position he has held since 2009.  Prior to the CPSC, Mr. Adler held various positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1987 to 2009, including Luther Hodges Jr. Scholar in Ethics and Law at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, Associate Dean of the MBA Program, and Associate Dean for the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Program.  From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Adler served as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Mr. Adler was an attorney-advisor to two prior CPSC Commissioners from 1973 to 1984.  From 1971 to 1973, he served as a Deputy Attorney General for the Pennsylvania Justice Department, where he headed the southwest regional office of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection.  Mr. Adler received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Peter Rogoff, Nominee for Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Transportation  
Peter Rogoff has been the Federal Transit Administrator for the Department of Transportation since 2009 and was designated Acting Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy in 2014.  Prior to joining the Federal Transit Administration, Mr. Rogoff served as a Democratic Staff Director on the Transportation Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee from 1995 to 2009.  Mr. Rogoff worked as a Professional Staff Member on the Transportation Subcommittee from 1990 to 1994.  Prior to this role, he was a Professional Staff Member on the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee from 1987 to 1989.  From 1984 to 1987, he served as a Legislative Associate at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.  Mr. Rogoff received a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

Ted Osius, Nominee for Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Department of State
Ted Osius, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is an Associate Professor at the National War College, a position he has held since 2013.  He was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2012 to 2013.  Prior to that, Mr. Osius served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 2009 to 2012.  Before that, he was Political Minister-Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India from 2006 to 2009.  Mr. Osius also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Korean Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State from 2004 to 2006.  Prior to that, he was Regional Environment Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand from 2001 to 2004.  From 1998 to 2001, he was Senior Advisor on International Affairs in the Office of the Vice President at the White House.  He served as Political Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam from 1997 to 2001.  Other positions he has held include: Staff Aide and Political Officer at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Political and Management Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Vatican City, The Holy See, and Political and Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  From 1985 to 1987, he was a Legislative Correspondent in the Office of U.S. Senator Al Gore, Jr.  Mr. Osius received an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.S. from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University.

Joan A. Polaschik, Nominee for Ambassador to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Department of State
Joan A. Polaschik, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, currently serves as Director of the Office of Egypt and Levant Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, a position she has held since 2013.  Ms. Polaschik also served as Acting Director in the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in 2013.  Before that, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya from 2009 to 2012, Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan from 2005 to 2008, and Regional Refugee Coordinator based at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan from 2001 to 2004.  Ms. Polaschik served as Iran Desk Officer from 2000 to 2001 and as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 1999 to 2000 at the Department of State.  Her other assignments have included Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia from 1997 to 1999 and Consular and General Services Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 1995 to 1996.  Ms. Polaschik received a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.S. from Georgetown University.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Appointee for Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. is a Senior Analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, a position he has held since 2014.  Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center from 2006 to 2013 and from 1988 to 1998.  He joined the Center as a Visiting Fellow in 1985.  He was Editor-in-Chief of America magazine from 1998 to 2005 and an associate editor from 1978 to 1985.  As an associate editor, he covered politics, economics, and the Catholic Church.  Rev. Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974.  He received a B.A. and an M.A. from St. Louis University, an M.Div. from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Eric P. Schwartz, Appointee for Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Eric P. Schwartz is Dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, a position he has held since 2011.  From 2009 to 2011, he was Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration at the Department of State.  Mr. Schwartz served as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery from 2005 to 2007, and as Chief of Office in Geneva for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2003 to 2004.  From 1993 until 2001, he was on the staff of the National Security Council, and from 1986 to 1989, he served as Washington Director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.  Mr. Schwartz was first appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2013.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Refugees International, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.  Mr. Schwartz received a B.A. from Binghamton University, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.