Leavitt's Only Democratic Cabinet Member Resigns

Leavitt's Only Democratic Cabinet Member Resigns

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- The lone Democrat in Republican Governor Mike Leavitt's cabinet is calling it quits.

Human Resource Management Director Karen Suzuki-Okabe is retiring on July 16th.

She's been with the Leavitt administration for ten years. She's also one of only six officials who have been in Leavitt's cabinet throughout his time in office.

Suzuki-Okabe first got the job after Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini fired her. Republican Leavitt hired her in 1993 -- and she says she thinks she was the "token Democrat".

But Leavitt praises her work, saying she's increased training opportunities for the state's employees, and helped put more government records online.

Suzuki-Okabe says her biggest regret is failing to get bigger pay raises for state workers. She says their pay is 17 percent below the market value.

No word on exactly why she quit -- she just said she's tired and there are other projects she wants to take on.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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