Obama picks Forest Hills man for treasury position

Forest Hills native and White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew (r.) accepts President Barack Obama's nomination for U.S. Treasury secretary. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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President Barack Obama’s cabinet might soon have a Queens section.

The president officially nominated his chief of staff, Forest Hills native Jack Lew, for secretary of the Treasury last week.

“As a kid growing up in Queens, I had dreams of making a difference in the world,” said Lew at the nomination announcement. “These dreams were nurtured in a home where the gifts of American freedom and opportunity were cherished and never taken for granted, and the responsibility to engage in issues of public concern were part of daily life. I will always be grateful to my parents for grounding me in the values that have remained central to my personal and professional life.”

The 57-year-old, who lived on Yellowstone Boulevard and graduated from Forest Hills High School, has been the president’s chief of staff for the last year and previously was the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The president said he could not think of a better person to take over for outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

“This is bittersweet not only because Tim is leaving, but also because Jack has been my chief of staff for the last year,” the president said. “He was my budget director before that. I trust his judgment. I value his friendship. I know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left. And so I don’t want to see him go because it’s working out really well for me to have him here in the White House. But my loss will be the nation’s gain.”

One issue has emerged in the national conversation since Lew’s nomination: his odd and illegible signature. But the president said his former chief of staff would concentrate on perfecting a more aesthetically pleasing autograph.

“Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury,” he said.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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