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Chavez Withdraws As Labor Nominee

January 9, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Linda Chavez withdrew Tuesday as President-elect Bush’s nominee to be secretary of labor because of questions and controversy over an illegal immigrant who lived in her home in the early 1990s.

She stepped aside under pressure from Bush’s political team, according to three Republican officials involved in the case.

There was no immediate word on a replacement.

Other prospects who had been on the Bush list for the labor department included Missouri Rep. Jim Talent, defeated nominee for governor of Missouri; Rep. Jennifer Dunn of Washington; and Rich Bond, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Chavez made her announcement at Bush transition headquarters.

``My, what a different a week makes,″ she began, prefacing her withdrawal with a description of the help she got from others during a difficult childhood. She said that she vowed then she would always be there for other people, and said that while ``I am not Mother Teresa ... I have tried to do right by people who have been in need.″

She said the Guatemalan woman who stayed with her was battered and in trouble, and that she would take her in again, ``in an instant, without hesitation″ despite what has happened as a result.

Chavez said she was trying ``to put a human face″ on the story, but that what has happened to her is typical of Washington and politics.

She called it ``the politics of personal destruction.″

``I believe that I would have made a great secretary of labor,″ she said. ``I have decided that I am becoming a distraction and therefore I have asked President-elect Bush to withdraw my name as secretary of labor.″

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