WASHINGTON – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Tuesday met with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to discuss homeland security priorities for the 111th Congress and the incoming Administration. Lieberman described his 47-minute meeting with the nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as a “very good discussion” and said the nominee was a “superb” choice.

“She has had law enforcement experience as a former Attorney General and she is the governor of a border state,” Lieberman said. “Besides that, she is smart, no nonsense, a hard worker, and goal oriented. And she believes in public service. She has also assembled a first rate management team to meld together 22 agencies and more than 200,000 employees. I have the greatest respect for her and she is a superb nominee.” Lieberman said passage of a Department authorization bill is a top priority for him “as a way for this Committee to state conclusions about the resource needs of the Department and policy changes.” But he said he and the Governor discussed a range of other priorities for the coming year including protecting the nation from terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction, cyber security, rail and transit security, border security, and chemical plant security.

“The Department of Homeland Security has come a long way,” Lieberman said. “But its work is far from finished. There is still a lot of work the Administration and Congress can do to protect the American people at home in an age of terrorism.” Lieberman has tentatively scheduled a nomination hearing for the Governor on January 15, 2009, so that a Senate confirmation vote may occur as soon as possible after the Inauguration. “The Secretary of Homeland Security, in current reality, is as critically important to our national security as the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State, and in some ways, more urgent,” Lieberman said.