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Chicago Businesswoman Nominated for Commerce Secretary

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Penny Pritzker

Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, nominated by President Obama as Commerce Secretary (Charles Dharapak/AP)

President Barack Obama is nominating longtime fundraiser and Chicago philanthropist Penny Pritzker to run the Commerce Department.

The president announced her nomination and that of economic adviser Michael Froman to be the U.S. Trade Representative Thuirsday morning in a Rose Garden ceremony.

He says they will help strengthen the economy and increase a sense of security for the middle class. Pritzker is a Hyatt hotel heiress.

She's Obama's pick to fill a Cabinet post that has been vacant since former Secretary John Bryson resigned.

"She knows that what we can do is to give every business and every worker the best possible chance to succeed by making America a magnet for good jobs," Obama said.  "And Penny understands that just as great companies strengthen the community around them, strong communities and skilled workers also help companies thrive."

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin released a statement following Obama's announcement.

"In the world of business Penny Pritzker has broken through the glass ceiling with her extraordinary intelligence and business acumen. I believe Penny will bring a new perspective to a Department that is charged with leading America forward in business growth and job creation. I look forward to supporting her nomination and working closely with her in this important assignment."

Froman is one of Obama's senior economic advisers and a former Citigroup executive. He is to replace Ron Kirk, who stepped down as trade representative in February.

Categories: Business, Economics, Government