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Secretary Of Energy Resigns

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WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 6) -- Energy Secretary Federico Peña announced his resignation Monday, citing "personal and family" reasons.

"I made this difficult decision with mixed emotions," Peña said. "There is never a perfect time for a decision like this. But I believe that after 5 1/2 years as a member of the Clinton cabinet that the time is now. I'm leaving the administration for personal and family reasons."

Peña had high praise for the Department of Energy and described his work there as "challenging and exhilarating."

Peña said he was prepared to leave the administration after the first term, but stayed on at the request of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. The resignation was not a surprise to White House officials, who say Peña only committed to staying for one year of the second term.

"It is a great honor to serve the president, it is a great honor to serve my country in any capacity.... I have done that with the best of my talent and with the fullness of my energy ... but at the end, we all have to make decisions about our families. And when we weigh all of those factors I must come down on the side of my family and their future." Peña said. (832K wav sound)

When asked if he was under indictment or knew of any indictments involving him, Peña replied sharply to the reporter, saying, "Tell your superiors that they need to be much more respectful of people who are in government today. It is ridiculous ... and silly questions like that that often try to embarrass public officials and perhaps is driving people away from government."

Peña will remain as the head of the Energy Department through June 30.

The secretary made the announcement at the Department of Energy accompanied by his wife, Ellen, and three children, two daughters and a son.

White House officials say the president is very grateful to Peña for staying on this long, and they have no announcement to make at this time as to who Clinton may be considering to replace the Energy Secretary.

Administration sources indicate Elizabeth Moler, deputy Energy secretary and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is a likely successor. Peña said any decision regarding his successor is the president's decision to make.

Peña, a former mayor of Denver, served in the first Clinton Administration as Transportation secretary. He says he has made no decisions or plans regarding his future professional pursuits.

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