Deborah Hersman for Transportation secretary? She ducks comment.

Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, is a top candidate for the cabinet post, reports say. But she wouldn't comment directly at a Monitor breakfast Wednesday.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Deborah Hersman, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board speaks at the Monitor Breakfast on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), ducked requests to comment Wednesday on published reports that she is President Obama’s leading candidate to replace Ray LaHood as Transportation secretary.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Ms. Hersman “is a leading candidate” for the Transportation post. The Transportation Department has roughly 57,000 workers and a fiscal 2012 budget of more than $72 billion. Her current post involves running an influential but much smaller operation. In a speech last fall, Hersman described the NTSB as “400 people you may never know.” The agency investigates transportation accidents and makes safety recommendations.

Hersman was appointed to the NTSB in 2004 by President Bush. Mr. Obama nominated her as NTSB chairman in 2009 and then nominated her for a second, two-year term as chairman in 2011.

 When asked about the speculation at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters on Wednesday, Hersman said, “I feel very privileged to have the job that I have now. And in fact, that is the only job that I have right now. So I am going to be focused on that.”
 
Obama has been criticized for naming men to the top posts in his second-term cabinet. Nominees have included Chuck Hagel for Defense secretary, Jacob Lew for Treasury secretary, John Kerry for secretary of State, and Denis McDonough for White House chief of staff. On Wednesday afternoon, the president is expected to name business executive Sally Jewell to lead the Interior Department.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.