February 19: Voice of the Times on the visit by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi.

Posted: Monday, February 19, 2001

Give a salute to Anthony Principi, the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He's the first member of President George W. Bush's Cabinet to visit Alaska -- and he didn't waste any time.

Principi, chosen by the president for the job even before the president was sworn in, was confirmed by the Senate three days after Bush's inauguration -- and just 3 1/2 weeks later he is here, in a state with a heavy population of veterans and one with a close association to the active duty and reserve components of the military.

A U.S. Naval Academy graduate who skippered a Navy combat patrol vessel in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, Principi is a superb choice to head Veterans Affairs.

On his trip to Alaska, he accompanied Sen. Frank Murkowski around the state -- meeting with veteran groups and learning firsthand of the needs that his department will be addressing in the years ahead.

Welcome, Mr. Secretary. Thanks for being No. 1 on the list of Cabinet officers headed our way.

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