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O'Malley to Name Two Cabinet Secretaries

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will announce two mid-term Cabinet appointments Tuesday, elevating Beverley K. Swaim-Staley to transportation secretary and naming Edward Chow Jr. as veterans affairs secretary.

Swaim-Staley has been acting transportation secretary since June, after the departure of John D. Porcari to serve as deputy transportation secretary in the Obama administration. She had previously served as Porcari's deputy in Maryland, both under O'Malley and during Porcari's previous tenure as transportation secretary under the last Democratic governor, Parris N. Glendening.

Chow, a U.S. Army veteran, will be the first Asian American to serve in O'Malley's Cabinet. He most recently worked as director of programs for an organization that advises Congress on issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Chow will succeed James A. Adkins, who has held two Cabinet posts since June 2008, also leading Maryland's Military Department, an assignment that will continue.

The two appointments come as O'Malley heads into an election year having seen relatively little turnover in his Cabinet. Two notable exceptions are the losses to the Obama administration of Porcari and Thomas E. Perez, Maryland's secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Perez, a Montgomery County lawyer, has continued to serve in O'Malley's administration, pending his confirmation by the U.S. Senate as head of the civil rights division at the U.S Department of Justice. Aides said O'Malley has no plans to name a replacement prior to Perez's departure.

The appointments of Swaim-Staley and Chow are subject to confirmation by the Maryland Senate when the legislature reconvenes in January, but both will begin their new jobs in coming weeks.

Swaim-Staley, an Anne Arundel County resident, assumes full control of one of the state's largest departments, with 9,000 employees and a budget of more than $3.billion. She is a native of Hagerstown.

Chow, a District resident, will take over a far smaller enterprise whose mission includes assisting veterans, active-duty service members, their families and their dependents in securing benefits earned through military service.

Prior to taking his position at the Asian Pacific Institute for Congressional Studies in 2008, Chow was president of the Maryland State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He plans to move from the District to Maryland upon starting his job with O'Malley, an aide to the governor said.

By John Wagner  |  August 31, 2009; 3:51 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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