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Obama starts filling in new top administration officials

Several changes coming among Obama's administration including USTR chief, secretary of commerce, transportation secretary and undersecretaries at USDA.

President Barack Obama said he intends to nominate Michael Froman as the next U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the country’s top trade negotiator. Froman is an assistant to the president and a deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs.

Froman was involved in negotiating free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea and previously worked for the Treasury Department and Citibank. As the new USTR, he will be in charge of managing ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union.

Also on Thursday, Obama announced Penny Pritzker as his pick for Secretary of Commerce. Pritzker is a businesswoman involved in an investment firm and real estate and is part of the family that founded Hyatt Hotels.

On April 29, President Obama announced Charlotte, North Carolina mayor Anthony Foxx as his nominee for the next Secretary of Transportation. Foxx has served as mayor of Charlotte since 2009.

If approved by the Senate, Foxx will succeed Ray LaHood, who announced earlier this year that he would not remain in the post for a second Obama term.

USDA announced this week Michael Scuse, the current undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, will take over as deputy secretary as Kathleen Merrigan. The change will create something of a domino effect, with Darci Vitter taking over as acting undersecretary and Suzanne Heinen becoming acting deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, Vitter’s current role.

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