JACKSON, Miss. — President Barack Obama on Friday nominated former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus to be secretary of the Navy, choosing a political supporter with a two-year career in the service.
Mabus, 60, is a Democrat and campaigned extensively for Obama last year.
If confirmed, Mabus would succeed Navy Secretary Donald Winter. The secretary is the civilian leader of the service and is responsible for a wide range of duties, from recruiting and mobilizing to overseeing the construction and repair of ships, equipment and facilities.
“At this critical moment in our nation’s history, I am grateful that these exceptional public servants have chosen to help my administration bring the change our country needs today,” Obama said announcing Mabus’ selection and other administration posts.
Mabus served in the Navy from 1970-72 as a surface warfare officer on the Newport, R.I.-based USS Little Rock. Before then, he was in the Naval ROTC while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Mississippi.
He was governor of Mississippi from January 1988 to January 1992. He also served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994-96 under President Bill Clinton. Mabus’ name surfaced as a possible Navy secretary soon after Clinton was elected president, but he was not nominated for the post.
Mabus has a master’s degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Harvard University.
His nomination still must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.