Becerra declines U.S. trade post

Dec. 17, 2008 at 1:38 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Rep. Xavier Becerra decided against accepting President-elect Barack Obama's offer to be U.S. Trade Representative, the Democrat told a California newspaper.

The California Democratic congressman said he was declining the offer because he was concerned about where trade falls on Obama's list of priorities, ABC News reported Wednesday.

"My concern was how much weight this position would have and I came to the conclusion that it would not be priority No. 1, and perhaps, not even priority No. 2 or 3," Becerra said during an interview with the editorial board of La Opinion, a Spanish-language publication in Los Angeles.

In a subsequent statement, Becerra said he looked forward to working with Obama "in the people's house just down the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" without mentioning his concerns about the Trade Representative post, ABC said.

Obama's transition office did not comment.

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