- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 29, 2001

RICHMOND Gov.-elect Mark R. Warner made three more appointments yesterday, including naming Republican Lt. Gov. John H. Hager to a newly created position as a special assistant to the governor for commonwealth preparedness.
Mr. Warner, a Democrat who will be sworn in Jan. 12, also nominated former Delegate Tayloe Murphy as secretary of natural resources and Richmond lawyer Michael Schewel as secretary of commerce and trade. The latter two are Cabinet-level positions.
Mr. Hager's position is not Cabinet-level, but will be similar to the one held on a federal level by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, Mr. Warner said. Mr. Hager will work to develop a network of resources to prepare for and guard against the threat of terrorism.
"We need a person empowered to cut across agency and secretariat lines" to ensure that all of Virginia's resources are brought together in a coordinated fashion to safeguard the people of Virginia against such threats, Mr. Warner said.
Mr. Hager, who lost to then-Attorney General Mark S. Earley at the Republican convention in June for the right to run against Mr. Warner, has been mentioned as a likely candidate for the job again in four years, but said the job will not get in the way of any future political aspirations.
"I was born a Republican and I still am one and probably always will be one," he said. "If and when I was to run for governor, I would resign this position."
Now, he said, is the time to think about security and preparedness.
"September 11 changed a lot. Now is the time to come together, to be nonpartisan, to get good things done," he said.
Mr. Hager's first priority will be to work with the state congressional delegation and the Bush administration to ensure that Virginia receives a fair share of federal resources for security in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Mr. Warner said.
With his long record of public service, Mr. Hager will bring the stature to the position that makes it possible for people to put aside partisanship for the common good, Mr. Warner said.
Mr. Hager is known as a high-energy worker, and another of his duties will be coordinating with local officials and the so-called "first responders," the rescue workers, firefighters and others likely to be first on the scene in the event of an attack.
"Few people know Virginia from border to border the way John Hager does," Mr. Warner said. "I feel like I've been to every nook and corner. John's been to them three times."
Mr. Warner, whose term will end an eight-year Republican hold on the governorship, has now named two Republicans to prominent posts. Former state Sen. Jane Woods of Fairfax is his nominee for secretary of health and human resources.
The appointments, especially those of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Schewel, show that Mr. Warner does not abide the "politics as usual" thinking he lambasted during his campaign, he said.
"I want to send a signal that the traditional concern that proper stewardship of our environment and historic resources is somehow in conflict with economic development, I believe, is old thinking and a false argument," Mr. Warner said.
Mr. Murphy, a Northern Neck resident and three-time former chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, spent 18 years in the House of Delegates until 1999.
"It's a great privilege to be able to return to state government and to pursue the preservation and the conservation of Virginia's natural and historic resources," said Mr. Murphy, who retired rather than seek a ninth term from the 99th District.
Mr. Schewel, the head of corporate law at the law firm of McGuire Woods and a former commissioner of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, "will be my full partner in the efforts to promote economic growth and good jobs" in Virginia, Mr. Warner said.

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