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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Ridge resigns as Secretary of Homeland Security

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge (
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge (

Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, announced his resignation on Nov. 30. Ridge said that he would serve as secretary until Feb.1 or until the Senate confirms a successor.

In Ridge’s formal letter of resignation to the President he said, “It is with both gratitude and regret that I submit my letter of resignation. I have been honored to serve you and humbled by the trust you have placed in me. After more than twenty-two consecutive years of public service, it is time to give personal and family matters a higher priority.” Ridge’s departure has been expected for sometime. According to The New York Times, Ridge said, “I just wanted to step back and pay a little more attention to personal matters.”

Ridge was chosen by President George W. Bush in the Sept. 11 aftermath to lead domestic security as the first Secretary of Homeland Security.

According to, “The department is responsible for a variety of functions, from overseeing border security and immigration to responding to natural disasters and screening airline passengers. It also includes the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.”

When Ridge was chosen for secretary, Bush said, “He is a leader who has shown he can draw the best out of people and out of organizations. He’s a man of compassion who has seen what evil can do.”

According to The New York Times, Ridge, referring to his 180,000 employees, said, “individual decisions that these men and women make out there at ports of entry have as much to do with the security of the country as any individual decisions we might make here at headquarters.”

On Dec.3, President Bush nominated former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to fill Ridge’s position. Kerik, 49, is the senior Vice President of Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm owned by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

“His broad practical hands-on experience makes (Kerik) superbly qualified to lead the Department of Homeland Security,” President Bush stated.

BBC news describes Kerik as “a tough-talking former street cop and undercover narcotics officer.”

Kerik grew up in Patterson, New Jersey. After dropping out of high school, he enlisted in the army.. Kerik worked in the NYPD from 1986 to 1994, and then headed New York City’s Department of Correction. He later trained Iraqi police forces, in Iraq, during 2003.

The New York Times reports that Kerik would take on the job of running the Department of Homeland Security, established by Congress two years ago out of 22 existing agencies to “bolster domestic defenses against terrorism.”

In response to his nomination, Kerik said, “I am deeply humbled and honored for the opportunity to serve you and this great country. I will devote every power I possess toward fulfilling the vital mission you have set before me and the Department of Homeland Security.”

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