(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) voted to confirm Leon E. Panetta as the next Secretary of Defense.  Panetta was confirmed by a vote of 100-0. Sen. Murray released the following statement following the vote.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to have a qualified, experienced leader at the Pentagon, and I was proud to cast my vote for Leon Panetta as the next Secretary of Defense. He has shown strong leadership during his time as Director of the CIA, and has dedicated much of his life to public service. Secretary Panetta has some big shoes to fill at the Department of Defense, and I want to thank Secretary Gates for his service and wish him well on his retirement back in my home state of Washington.

“I spoke to Leon last week, and I voiced my concerns about the unseen and too often overlooked human costs of our ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I know that the costs don’t end when our men and women leave the battlefield. And I am going to keep working with the new Secretary to make sure all of the costs of war, including the rising rate of suicide among servicemembers, the lack of access to much needed mental health care, and the impact of increased number of tours on members of the armed forces and their caregivers, are being taken seriously by the Pentagon and the Administration. 

“And as he assumes his new position, I am confident that the new Secretary will keep his own experiences as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army in mind as he makes decisions that impact the brave men and women fighting for our country.  I look forward to working with Secretary Panetta on these issues and many others as he works to make sure America remains safe and secure.”