Schumer touts Kelly for Homeland Security chief
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) Friday pressed the White House to consider New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to replace Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is stepping down to run the University of California system.
Schumer said Kelly, who has led the NYPD since 2002, has the right credentials for the job, which requires knowledge of law enforcement, anti-terrorism and administration.
"At the NYPD, Ray Kelly has proved that he excels in all three. As a former head of the Customs and Border patrol, he has top-level federal management experience," Schumer said in a statement.
"I have urged the White House to very seriously consider his candidacy," he said, noting he had called White House chief of staff Tom Donilon.
Two years ago, Schumer recommended that President Barack Obama appoint Kelly, 71, to succeed FBI director Robert Mueller when he retires this fall.
Obama instead chose former New York federal prosecutor and No. 2 Bush administration Justice Department official James Comey.
Schumer has reason to pull for a New Yorker to take Napolitano's place -- to protect federal homeland security grants to New York City, considered the country's top terrorist target.
New York officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kelly, on Friday praised Napolitano's commitment to anti-terrorism.
"From a New York-Long Island perspective, she was a very good secretary," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who noted Napolitano kept New York City grants steady while homeland security grants overall began to shrink.
Last year she kept New York grants at about $151 million while other cities saw their amounts cut. She also protected $22 million for radiation detectors.
King said he agreed with Schumer that Napolitano's successor "should be Ray Kelly or someone like Ray Kelly."
"He has the intangibles needed for that job," King said. "He has the counterterrorism experience, he knows terrorism issues inside and out . . . [and] he knows the federal bureaucracy."
The White House and Kelly's office declined to comment.
With Anthony M. DeStefano