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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Senator Patty Murray today joined all of her Senate colleagues to confirm Governor Tom Ridge as the first Secretary of the newly created Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 94-0.

"Tom Ridge, from the moment he was called to serve, has worked to secure our homeland for all Americans," said Murray. "He has earned respect for his work on this important issue.

"I appreciate Tom Ridge's responsiveness in addressing border security and other important issues for Washington state, and I look forward to continuing to have a constructive relationship with the Secretary and the Department."

Senator Murray has worked closely with Secretary Ridge on various issues of importance to Washington state including border security, the HAMMER training facility at the Hanford site, and transportation and aviation security matters.

At Sen. Murray's request, Ridge dispatched his Director of Training and Exercises at the Office of Homeland Security to visit the HAMMER facility in the Tri Cities in August, 2002. Sen. Murray has been working to help HAMMER become a training center for first responders throughout the country.

"Secretary Ridge has taken on an enormous and important responsibility. I am eager to work with him to fully address our homeland security needs. His first task, and I anticipate his complete attention, is to convince the President to follow through on his commitments to fund first responders as they train and prepare to combat terrorism. Homeland Security should not be an unfunded mandate to our states and local governments," Murray continued.