Dream Cabinet 2001

Who will take over Washington's most powerful jobs when the new president is sworn in on January 21? Jay Walljasper, editor of the Utne Reader, has compiled an unconventional list of candidates for the next presidential Cabinet and other key posts. Needless to say, they aren't names you'll hear mentioned by George W. Bush or Al Gore ... but just imagine what DC would be like with these folks pulling the strings!


Secretary of State: Noam Chomsky
As the best-informed and most insistent critic of U.S. foreign policy over four decades, this MIT professor is the clear choice to foster a new relationship with the rest of the world.

Secretary of Defense: Ron Dellums
A 17-year veteran of the House Armed Services Committee, this former Bay Area congressman knows what's wrong -- and what's right -- with America's military.

United Nations Ambassador: Jesse Jackson Sr.
Our most consistent voice for justice and human dignity, he's proven his diplomatic skills everywhere from Chicago ghettos to Balkan battle zones.

National Security Advisor: Hazel Henderson
A longtime advocate of sustainable development in Southern nations, she knows that true security comes from environmental protection, global understanding, and a more equitable distribution of the world's wealth.

Attorney General:Ralph Nader
Thanks to his legal expertise, America is a safer, greener, fairer place. Imagine what he might do for us with the resources of the Justice Department behind him. (In the happy event Nader is elected president, the post should go to Joel Rogers of the University of Wisconsin Law School or to Andrew Kimbrell of the International Center for Technology Assessment.)

Secretary of the Treasury: Amy Domini
Founder of one of the first and best-performing socially responsible investment funds, she knows that a truly "good" economy depends on more than the Dow Jones average.

White House Council of Economic Advisors Chair: Herman Daly
Research scholar at the University of Maryland and former economist at the World Bank, he argues that economic growth along current lines is not in the best interest of either the environment or the average person.

Federal Reserve Board Chair: Robert Reich
No one is better prepared to steer our dynamic, changing economy in a direction that benefits all Americans than this Brandeis economics professor and former Secretary of Labor.

Secretary of the Interior: Winona LaDuke
A veteran environmental and Native American activist, she sees protecting our land as a sacred duty. (If LaDuke becomes vice president on the Green Party ticket, activist Julia Butterfly Hill or architect and industrial designer William McDonough should get the job.)

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator: Lois Gibbs
A Love Canal homeowner turned environmental expert, she brings a keen understanding of the human costs of pollution and toxic contamination.

Secretary of Agriculture: Jim Hightower
As Agriculture Commissioner in Texas for eight years, he proved himself an effective champion of family farmers, sustainable agriculture, and innovative government initiatives.

Secretary of Commerce: David Morris
Co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Morris has 25 years of experience in showing how healthy communities promote a vital economy -- and vice versa.

Secretary of Labor: Juliet Schor
Harvard professor, economist, and author of the best-selling The Overworked American, she knows that less is more when it comes to working hours.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Maxine Waters
No one in Washington will be able to ignore the needs of everyday Americans with this feisty L.A. congresswoman heading the department.

Secretary of Transportation: Earl Blumenauer
As founder of the Congressional Livable Communities Taskforce, this Portland congressman understands that cars, trucks, and planes are not the only way to go.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Myron Orfield
This Minnesota state legislator has devised an ambitious agenda to revitalize inner cities and blue-collar suburbs that's stirring excitement across the country.

Secretaries of Energy: Hunter and Amory Lovins
Veteran environmental activists, the founders of the Rocky Mountain Institute are ready to launch an energy-efficiency revolution.

Secretary of Education: Deborah L. Meier
Founder of New York's acclaimed Central Park East Secondary School in East Harlem, Meier is now working to improve Boston's public schools. She tirelessly promotes the idea that good teachers, adequate funding, and small schools are the key to successful students.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Ron Kovic
A decorated and disabled Vietnam vet born on the fourth of July, Kovic knows how to reward America's veterans without glorifying war.

Postmaster General: Ann Landers
Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night stops her from answering our letters with insight and kindness.

Surgeon General: Andrew Weil
A doctor who can spread the message that preventive measures and natural healing are as important to our health as high-tech medical wonders.

FBI Director: Bobby Rush
A former Black Panther and community activist, this Chicago congressman knows the perils of police oppression as well as the steady toll in human life and dignity that crime imposes on poor neighborhoods.

Drug Czar: Ernesto Cortes Jr.
As the founder of community organizations across the Southwest, he knows firsthand the damage that both drugs and the drug war can do -- as well as how vital neighborhoods offer people a way to just say yes to something bigger than themselves.

White House Press Secretary: Ray Suarez
The popular radio host and television commentator will make sure that communication between the White House and the American public is a two-way street.

National Endowment for the Arts Chair: Robert Redford
His Sundance Institute boosted independent film to new heights. Let's put him to work on American theater, art, music, and literature.

National Endowment for the Humanities Chair: Henry Louis Gates Jr.
The Harvard Afro-American studies department head brings both a scholarly and a populist enthusiasm to the idea that American culture is a rich stew cooked with ingredients from all over the world.

Poets Laureate (a two-year post): Gwendolyn Brooks and Gary Snyder
These writers have evoked the essence of America out of very different experiences -- the tough city streets of Chicago and the wild mountains of the American West.

Presidential Prayer Circle
Just as Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter relied on Billy Graham for religious counsel, the first president elected in the 21st century needs an interreligious council of spiritual advisors: Milwaukee Catholic Archbishop Rembert Weakland, the Dalai Lama, American Muslim leader W. Deen Mohammed, Rabbi Michael Lerner, minister Marianne Williamson, pagan priestess Starhawk, Native American spiritual leader Oren Lyons, and African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti McKenzie.

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