The Senate yesterday voted in Chicago’s Penny Pritzker to take over as secretary of the Commerce Department, where she has promised to bridge the gap between the White House and the business community.
“Penny is a proven leader, a successful entrepreneur, and one of the most accomplished and highly respected women in business today,” President Barack Obama said in a June 25 press release. “She knows what it takes to build companies from the ground up, and she shares my belief in doing everything we can to help businesses and workers succeed and make America a magnet for good jobs.”
Pritzker was confirmed in a vote of 97 to 1 Tuesday, the lone dissenting vote coming from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Though she was confirmed easily with bipartisan support, Pritzker’s nomination was opposed openly by organized labor. Donald Taylor, president of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union, rejected Pritzker’s nomination because of wage disputes among workers at the Hyatt Hotels chain, on whose board Pritzker sits, The Hill reported.
Pritzker is a seasoned Obama administration veteran. She was appointed to the President’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness, which advises the administration on economic growth and job creation, and served as national co-chair of Obama for America 2012 and national finance chair of the 2008 Barack Obama for President campaign.
Outside of public service, Pritzker is founder, chairman and CEO of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group, its affiliate, as well as chairman and co-founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners. She is advisory board chairman of Skills for America’s Future, The Aspen Institute. In addition, Pritzker is a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of Chicago, as well as trustee of Stanford University and of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Pritzker earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and graduate degrees in law and business administration from Stanford University.