By Evette Dionne
President Obama heard the “stop picking white men” criticism and is heeding the advice of diversity advocates. He’s appointed the first female Secret Service director.
Julia Pierson, 53, replaces former director Mark Sullivan, who’s facing criticism for “allowing a testosterone-fueled culture to erode discipline at the Secret Service,” according to the New York Daily News.
Pierson is a 30-year veteran of the Secret Service and currently serves as the agency’s chief of staff.
President Obama is satisfied with her record and said he believes she can lead the Secret Service in a new, positive direction.
“Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own,” President Obama said in a statement announcing her appointment. “Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency.”
Her appointment does not require Senate confirmation, which some, including Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) disagrees with. He said the Secret Service “lost the trust of many Americans” following a prostitution scandal in Colombia. Grassley is optimistic, but thinks Pierson “has a lot of work ahead of her to create a culture that respects the important job the agency is tasked with.”
Former director Sullivan agrees, but also has faith in Pierson’s abilities.
“I have known and worked with Julie for close to thirty years. She was an excellent assistant director and chief of staff, demonstrating sound judgment, leadership, character, and commitment to our country, the men and women of the U.S. Secret Service and those we serve and protect,” he said. “This is a historic and exciting time for the Secret Service and I know Julie will do an outstanding job.”