Written by Adrianne Madden
June 22, 2012
So much for the John Bryson era as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It began with his Senate confirmation in October and ended yesterday when he submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama, less than two weeks after the car he was driving was involved in collisions with two other vehicles near his California home.
Commerce Department officials say Bryson's neurologists concluded after initial testing that he suffered a complex partial seizure. These seizures cause abnormal electrical activity in an isolated section of the brain; a person could still perform simple tasks, doctors say, but be unable to handle more complex tasks.
Bryson, 68, announced two days after the incident that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from the Commerce Department, NOAA's parent agency. He issued his resignation letter Wednesday, writing that, "I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the Department."
Hence, Rebecca M. Blank steps up to the plate as the acting Commerce Secretary. She takes over for Bryson, who was named to the post after Gary Locke stepped down to become U.S. ambassador to China. It remains to be seen whether the president will nominate a new secretary for confirmation in this presidential election year. Don't bet the boat payment on it.
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