Janet Napolitano

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Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano DHS.jpg
United States Secretary of Homeland Security
In office
January 21, 2009-September 6, 2013
Elections and appointments
NominatedDecember 1, 2008
ConfirmedJanuary 20, 2009
AppointedJanuary 21, 2009
Appointed byBarack Obama
Prior offices
Governor of Arizona
Attorney General of Arizona
High schoolSandia High School
Bachelor'sSanta Clara University
J.D.University of Virginia Law School
Date of birthNovember 29, 1957
Place of birthNew York, New York
Office website
Janet Ann Napolitano (b. November 29, 1957, in New York, New York) was previously the United States Secretary of Homeland Security. She was confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2009, by voice vote.[1] Napolitano was the first woman to hold the post and only the third Secretary of Homeland Security since the formation of the department in 2001.[2]

On July 12, 2013, Napolitano announced her resignation from Secretary of Homeland Security, effective in September 2013, to take the post of President of the University of California.[3]

Napolitano began her political career as the Attorney General of Arizona before serving two terms as Governor of Arizona and being nominated for U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.[4]


While born in New York, New York, Janet was raised with two siblings in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[2] Her father, Leonard Michael Napolitano, was the Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.[2] She attended Sandia High School in 1975 on her way to graduating from Santa Clara University as the school's first female valedictorian in 1979, with a degree in political science.[2] She went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 1983.[4] In 2000, Napolitano was successfully treated for cancer in her right breast.[4]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Napolitano's academic, professional and political career:[4][2]

  • 1979: Graduated from Santa Clara University
  • 1983: Earned law degree from University of Virginia Law School
  • 1983-1984: Law clerk for Judge Mary Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • 1984-1993: Associate and later promoted to partner at Lewis & Roca
  • 1993-1997: U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona
  • 1999-2002: Attorney General of Arizona
  • 2003-2009: Governor of Arizona
  • 2006-2007: Chair of the National Governors Association
  • 2009-2013: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
  • 2013-Present: President of the University of California

Confirmation vote

Napolitano was confirmed by voice vote on January 20, 2009, by members of the United States Senate.[1]


Napolitano was re-elected Governor of Arizona on November 7, 2006, defeating Len Munsil (R), Barry J. Hess, II (L) and numerous write-in candidates.[5]

Arizona Governor, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJanet Napolitano Incumbent 62.6% 959,830
     Republican Len Munsil 35.4% 543,528
     Libertarian Barry J. Hess, II 2% 30,268
     Write-in Arthur Ray Arvizu 0% 10
     Write-in Robert B. Winn 0% 3
     Write-in Brian Wright 0% 6
Total Votes 1,533,645
Election Results via Arizona Secretary of State

Full history


Secretary of Homeland Security

Right-wing extremism memo

In April 2009, a memo was made public, assessing the threat of right-wing extremist terrorism in the United States. A portion of the memo suggested the struggle of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could lead to a rise in extremists "capable of carrying out extremist attacks," citing Timothy McVeigh as an example.[7] The American Legion was among the veterans groups that took offense to the analysis, stating that Timothy McVeigh was just one of 42 million veterans who have served during wartime, and to continue using that example was similar to using Osama bin Laden as the stereotype for Islam.[7] Napolitano pointed out that the report was defended by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She apologized for the wording and spent time meeting with veterans groups who were offended.[7]

Walmart partnership

In order to promote the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign established by Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security, the Department partnered with Walmart to show a video highlighting the campaign at checkout lines in 588 Walmart stores across the country in 2010.[8]



Napolitano set a state record for vetoes by a governor in Arizona by using the executive veto power 180 times in the first six years, before accepting her position in the Obama administration.[9] She vetoed every piece of abortion legislation passed by the state legislature.[10] She also consistently vetoed bills aimed at loosening gun control laws[11] as well as measures aimed at criminalizing illegal immigrants, because she believed it to be a federal issue.[12]


Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Napolitano's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $93,037.00 and $695,000.00. That averages to $394,018.50, which ranks 22nd among executive branch members.[13]


  • In November 2005, Time magazine named her one of the five best governors in the U.S.[14]
  • In February 2006, Napolitano was named by The White House Project as one of "8 in '08", a group of eight female politicians who could possibly run and/or be elected president in 2008.[15]


Napolitano has never been married and does not have children.[2]

Recent news

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Janet Napolitano News Feed

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 United States Senate, "Barack H. Obama Cabinet Nominations," accessed June 11, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Biography.com, "Janet Napolitano biography," accessed June 11, 2013
  3. L.A. Times, "Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security chief, to head UC," July 12, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 CNN, "Janet Napolitano Fast Facts," March 7, 2013
  5. Arizona Secretary of State, "State of Arizona Official Canvass," December 4, 2006
  6. Arizona Secretary of State, "State of Arizona Official Canvass," November 25, 2002
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 CNN, "Homeland security chief apologizes to veterans groups," April 16, 2009
  8. Department of Homeland Security, "DHS and Walmart: Partners in Promoting "If You See Something, Say Something" Campaign," December 6, 2010
  9. The Arizona Republic, "Napolitano exit would clear way for GOP to define state agenda," November 21, 2008
  10. LifeNews.com, "Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano Vetoes Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Parental Consent," April 4, 2008
  11. Tuscon Citizen, "Denogean: Move over, Iron Man; Arizona has the Veto Vixen," June 3, 2008
  12. Think Progress, "Napolitano: Arizona's New Immigration Law 'Doesn't Allow Law Enforcement' To 'Prioritize Public Safety'," April 15, 2010
  13. OpenSecrets.org, "Janet Napolitano, 2011"
  14. Time, "America's 5 Best Governors," November 13, 2005
  15. The Center for Politics, "Students Favor Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton among Potential Female Candidates in Nationwide Online Poll," accessed July 16, 2013 (Note: half way through the archives)
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Chertoff
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Jane Dee Hull
Governor of Arizona
Succeeded by
Jan Brewer
Preceded by
Grant Woods
Attorney General of Arizona
Succeeded by
Terry Goddard