December 22, 2000
AUSTIN - President-elect George W. Bush announced three new appointments to his Cabinet. The President-elect designated Mel Martinez, chief executive of Orange County, Florida, to be Secretary of Housing; Ann Veneman, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, to be Secretary of Agriculture; and Donald Evans, Texas businessman and longtime friend, to be Secretary of Commerce.
"Since leaving his Cuban homeland as a boy, Mel Martinez has been the embodiment of the American dream and has had great success in helping the people of his community obtain affordable housing and urban services. Ann Veneman is widely respected by the different segments of the farm economy; she has great insight into the problems facing farmers and is an expert in international trade. Don Evans is a longtime friend, trusted adviser and an experienced and successful businessman who will make an outstanding Secretary of Commerce," said President-elect George W. Bush.
Mel Martinez comes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development after spending the past two years serving as Chairman of Orange County, Florida. As Chairman, he is the elected chief executive of the county government. During his term, Martinez dealt with the many housing and urban-related issues that impact central Florida, including easing housing development near overcrowded schools, strengthening code enforcement and easing traffic congestion.
Martinez currently serves as Chairman of Governor Jeb Bush's Growth Management Study Commission, which is examining ways to plan for community growth without promoting sprawl. From 1984 through 1986, he was Chairman of the Orlando Housing Authority. Martinez fled his Cuban homeland in 1962 at the age of 15. He earned both a bachelor's and law degree from Florida State University.
Ann Veneman has spent much of her career focusing on agriculture issues. From 1995 to 1999, she served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, directing the state agency that oversees the largest agricultural economy in the nation. Veneman also served as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture during President Bush's Administration. Prior to that, she was Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, where she worked on trade policy, trade negotiations, and food aid.
Don Evans is the Chairman and CEO of Tom Brown, Inc., a large independent energy company. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System. In that capacity, Evans heads the governing body that oversees the University of Texas System, its 79,051 employees and 153,448 students. As Secretary of Commerce, Evans will be responsible for strengthening and promoting U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace by working with businesses, communities, universities and other institutions. Evans served as Chairman of the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign, and is a member of numerous professional and civic associations.