UPDATED: A president often described as a cowboy is leaving office and the nominee from Arizona lost the election. Still, the American West is riding high right now, in part because of President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks. He’s chosen Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (homeland security, in photo) to join his administration, as well as Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar (interior), California Rep. Hilda Solis (labor) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory director Steven Chu (energy). New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had been picked for commerce secretary but dropped out due to a federal investigation into how his political donors landed a transportation contract. Congress’ top leaders remain House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. And California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Henry Waxman are newly slated for key chairmanships (Senate Intelligence Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee, respectively). So far, the West has kept the gloating to a minimum. But the South feels slighted (though Obama’s choices for U.S. trade representative, defense secretary, EPA chief and secretary of state all have Southern ties). “This is the first time you can say, ‘Look, where is the South in this administration?’ ” said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.
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