Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins today called on her colleagues in the Senate to act quickly to approve the President’s nominee to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Judge Michael Chertoff. Senator Collins managed the nomination debate on the Senate floor and spoke strongly in favor of Judge Chertoff. She said that the DHS needed a new leader as soon as possible, pointing out that the Secretary position was vacated thirteen days ago, and that Judge Chertoff is the right person for the job.

The confirmation of Judge Michael Chertoff was approved last week in a unanimous vote by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which Senator Collins chairs.

In a speech to the Senate, Senator Collins said, “I am convinced that Michael Chertoff has the character and the qualifications to excel in what is one of the most challenging positions in all of government. The strengths and experience he brings are impressive. He has devoted a significant part of his life to public service, as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey, as the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and now as a federal judge.”

“He knows what is needed to fight a war on terrorism, the importance of strategic planning and the need to constantly improve information sharing and cooperation among agencies at all levels of government. Our nation will benefit greatly from these attributes and experiences in our next Homeland Security Secretary,” Senator Collins added.

Senator Collins said that she is also impressed with his commitment to civil liberties. She said that in border states like Maine, it is crucial that there is a balance between border security and the need to allow the free flow of individuals. Chertoff’s response to Senator Collins’ concerns was, “I believe that we cannot live in liberty without security, but we would not want to live in security without liberty.”

Senator Collins called on her colleagues to approve Chertoff’s nomination as soon as possible. “Judge Chertoff’s commitment to work tirelessly as the next DHS Secretary, combined with his character and qualifications, make it a privilege to enthusiastically present his nomination to my colleagues in the Senate.”

The Senate is expected to vote on Chertoff’s nomination on Tuesday.