President-elect Bush on Monday named Rep. Jack Kemp, once a combative campaign rival, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the new administration.
Bush hailed Kemp for his role in passing the income tax cuts of the Reagan administration and said he was one of the "premier architects of the opportunity society that we are trying to create."Kemp thanked Bush for the appointment and said he would seek a public-private partnership to "wage war on poverty." He paraphrased the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., saying he has faith in the nation's ability to restore hope to distressed inner cities and those who live in poverty and despair.
The New York congressman, known for holding strong views and expressing them freely, pledged to be a "good team player" and stick to his own portfolio. "I'm not going to speak on foreign policy" during Cabinet meetings, he said.
Aside from Kemp, transition sources said Bush has decided on Chicago mass-transit official Samuel Skinner as transportation secretary and said that appointment may come as soon as Tuesday. The leading candidate for secretary of health and human services remains Louis Sullivan, the Morehouse Medical School president who would become Bush's first black Cabinet appointment.
However, Kemp's appointment was the only one announced by Bush at a morning appearance before reporters.
Remaining at the microphone to field questions on other topics, the president-elect said he would take an intolerant view of any acts of terrorism by the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has renounced such acts as the price for diplomatic discussions with the Reagan administration.
"We would not start off by showing any tolerance of PLO terror and I don't care if it comes from a faction of the left or right or the center or whatever,"Bush said.
Bush shed little light on the appointments still to be made, but said he wants an energy secretary knowledgeable about nuclear issues who can help increase the use of nuclear power.
Kemp's appointment was the eighth Bush has made for his Cabinet, with six more to go. The president-elect has said he hopes to complete the task before Christmas.
Kemp was known as one of the most ardent adherents to the supply side theory of economics that President Reagan pursued, highlighted by the large income tax cuts of 1981. When the federal deficit ballooned, Kemp astounded fellow Republicans by declaring the deficit didn't count.
Bush said Kemp was "an idea man," and said his innovative ideas were needed to solve problems in housing and other areas.
Kemp, 53, a former professional football player, served 18 years in Congress from a Buffalo, N.Y., district before seeking the Republican presidential nomination earlier this year.
He faltered in the early contests and was gone from the race by spring. But during his brief candidacy, he did what he could to question Bush's commitment to anti-tax policies. Kemp said frequently that if the voters wanted to raise taxes, they should vote for either Bush or another rival, Sen. Bob Dole.
In Congress, Kemp has carved out a reputation not only for his anti-tax, supply-side economic policies, but also for his efforts to appeal to black voters. His decision to quote the late civil rights leader King in his brief remarks wasevidence of that.