Colleges President Mark D. Gearan is quoted in a Finger Lakes Times article about the local reactions to the likelihood that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be named secretary of state.
Gearan served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff, during President Bill Clinton’s administration. During the 1992 presidential campaign, he was Al Gore’s campaign manager, segueing to the position of Deputy Director of President-elect Clinton’s transition team.
According to the article, Gearan believes the appointment of Clinton as secretary of state would be good for President-elect Obama’s administration and the country. It quoted Gearan as saying, “It really is Lincoln-esque to reach into New York state to get the secretary of state,” because Lincoln chose Sen. William Seward, whom he ran against in the 1860 election.
Gearan was also asked about the Senate seat Clinton would vacate. According to the Finger Lakes Times, “Gearan doesn’t have a specific person in mind to replace Clinton in the senate, but he said she’s a tough act to follow and it’s important for her successor to bring economic development to the state and recognize its challenges.”
The former director of the Peace Corps, President Gearan is a native of Gardner, Mass. He earned his B.A. in government cum laude at Harvard University and his law degree at Georgetown University. He is also the recipient of 12 honorary degrees.
The article as it appeared in the Finger Lakes Times appears below.
Finger Lakes Times
Like it or not, Hillary’s likely secretary of state
Amanda Folts • November 23, 2008
The prospect of Sen. Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state has sparked a mixed reaction locally.
Confidants of Clinton told the New York Times Friday that she’s decided to give up her New York Senate seat to join President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet. The announcement will not officially be made until after Thanksgiving, the newspaper reported.
Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a former member of Bill Clinton’s White House team, said that if Hillary Clinton is appointed secretary of state it would be good for both the Obama administration and the country’s position around the world.
Gearan, who served as deputy White House chief of staff, assistant to the president and director of communications and strategic planning, said the appointment speaks to Obama’s judgment and is reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state pick, Sen. William Seward, whom he ran against in the 1860 election.
“It really is Lincoln-esque to reach into New York state to get the secretary of state,” he said.
Gearan doesn’t have a specific person in mind to replace Clinton in the senate, but he said she’s a tough act to follow and it’s important for her successor to bring economic development to the state and recognize its challenges.
Martha Guerra of Geneva said Clinton is qualified and her appointment would be an advantage to the country, saying it would “give us a jolt and get us back on top.”
Though she thinks the move is a good one, Guerra added that she was hoping Clinton would try to run for president again and hasn’t heard of past secretaries of state using the position as a jumping-off point.
Guerra also didn’t have a specific replacement in mind for Clinton’s Senate seat, but she said there are many woman that would be qualified for the position.
Yates County Democratic chair Carolyn Schaffer called Clinton brilliant and strong and said Obama choosing her speaks to her strengths, while Seneca County Democratic chair Theodore Young said he’ll miss her if she leaves her Senate post.
Not surprisingly, some area Republican’s aren’t as confident about Obama’s cabinet choices so far.
Jack Clancy, former Yates County Republican chair, said he’s surprised that so many members of Obama’s team are coming from Bill Clinton’s administration.
“To me, that’s not change at all,” Clancy said.
As for Hillary Clinton’s Senate replacement, he said he’d like to see someone who represents upstate, saying there hasn’t been a true “upstater” in the Senate since Kenneth Keating in the 1960s.
The upshot for Wayne County Republican Chair Daniel Olson?
“It’s a great way to get rid of her from New York,” he said, noting that her husband’s high-profile pardons and international financial connections could become a problem.
However, Olson said he also wishes Clinton well because he wants the country to succeed.
His pick for to fill her Senate seat would be Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Like Clancy, he wants to make sure the representation comes from upstate.
At the Windmill & Craft Market in Penn Yan Friday, a few shoppers also offered their takes.
Alvin House of Penn Yan said he thinks Hillary would do a good job, and he likes the fact that she’d have Bill Clinton behind her.
Though she’s a Republican, Genevan Bonnie Scherra said Clinton has the background and knowledge for the position, adding that she probably would have voted for her if she ran on her party’s line.
Kelly Rogers of Canandaigua, however, wasn’t optimistic about the idea of Obama’s one-time foe serving as the nation’s top diplomat.
“I’m not really for it. I’m not pleased with what she’s done in New York, so I don’t think she’ll be much better in the nation,” Rogers said.