Obama picks Strickland, Williams for new posts

Democrats Jay Williams, the former Mayor of Youngstown, and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland have been nominated by President Barack Obama to positions in his administration.

Williams was picked to be the Assistant Secretary of Economic Development in the U.S. Department of Commerce and Strickland as an alternate representative to the United Nations, according to a White House release sent Tuesday evening. The appointments need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

If that happens, Will-iams will shift from his position as Director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, commonly known as ”auto czar,” a position he left the mayor’s office in Youngstown to take in 2011, to the Commerce Department.

Strickland would assume what is largely a ceremonial position, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which reported each nation’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly consists of five representatives and five alternatives.

Strickland served one term as governor before losing in 2010 to Republican John Kasich.

The selections drew wide praise from Democrat lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Ryan said he is delighted over Williams’ selection and that the president ”couldn’t have chosen a better or more qualified person to take over the immense responsibility” of the assistant secretary’s job.

Ryan said of his close friend Strickland, ”through his long and illustrious career, Ted has always served the people of the State of Ohio with dedication and hard work, and I know he will continue to do the same for his country and the international community.”

Brown said that if appointed, Williams ”would continue to serve his country and hometown honorably.”