Abraham, a congenial former Senator who shares the White House's pro-industry, supply-side philosophies, is one of the Bush Administration's most savvy talking heads. Those qualities have been important as the Administration pushes its national energy strategy. Although Vice President Dick Cheney was the brains behind the energy plan, Abraham is carrying it to Capitol Hill and to the public. Abraham, 49, has been a Republican loyalist since he began working on political campaigns during his high school days in East Lansing, Mich. A graduate of Michigan State University with a law degree from Harvard, Abraham chaired the Michigan Republican Party during the 1980s. In the early 1990s, he was deputy chief of staff to then-Vice President Dan Quayle and was co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. In 1994, Michigan voters elected him Senator after he campaigned on a conservative, free-trade platform. But in 2000, he narrowly lost his re-election bid to Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Abraham, the son of Lebanese immigrants, championed immigration issues, tax reform, and an anti-abortion agenda while in the Senate. His only brush with energy issues came in 1999, when he introduced legislation to abolish the Energy Department. Now at the reins of that department, Abraham, who is described as a quick study, has been promoting the Administration's proposals to boost domestic supplies of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power. However, the Energy Secretary's control over national energy policy is limited to providing research money to the industries. He also oversees the federal weapons laboratories, and the cleanup of nuclear and toxic waste from there.
To Bush's Democratic and environmental opponents, Blake is yet another former industry official hired to push the White House's pro-industry energy policies. Before taking this post, Blake was a top official with General Electric Co. and served a stint in the company's power-systems division, which makes natural-gas turbines. But Blake's strong political ties to the Republican Party may also have helped him get the job, and he shares Abraham's conservative, anti-government philosophy. In the early 1980s, Blake, 51, served as deputy counsel to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, and to then-President Reagan's task force on regulatory relief. Later, Reagan named him general counsel to the Environmental Protection Agency. Before joining General Electric, Blake was a partner in the Washington law firm of Swidler, Berlin, Sheriff, Friedman. A native of Boston, Blake received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his law degree from Columbia Law School. He served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
Bruce Marshall Carnes
Chief Financial Officer
Carnes, 57, is a former English professor who has now served as a federal employee under five Presidents. He was born in Xenia, Ohio, but as a member of a military family, he never stayed in one place very long. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado and his master's and Ph.D. at Indiana University. Before entering the government, Carnes taught at James Madison University. He went on to work for the Carter, Reagan, first Bush, and Clinton Administrations. From 1985-88, Carnes was deputy undersecretary of Education for planning, budget, and evaluation, where he replaced conservative icon Gary Bauer. From 1989-93, he served at the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the director of planning, budget, and administration. Most recently, Carnes worked at the Defense Department as the deputy director of defense financing and accounting services. In his new role at the Energy Department, Carnes is charged with keeping that department's books in order.
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