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Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management, and Budget Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management, and Budget

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Interior Department

Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management, and Budget

One of the few holdovers from Obama's first term in the upper management at Interior, Suh is hoping for a second act without the kind of all-consuming assignment she had after the BP oil spill in 2010: reorganizing the former Minerals Management Service. The agency that handled all aspects of energy development on public lands was under fire for being too close to those it regulated, and Suh led a team that disassembled the MMS and rebuilt it as three agencies separately managing offshore energy development, onshore development, and regulatory issues. "I feel really proud of how we did it," she says. And the task continues as Interior plays a major oversight role in the post-spill restoration of the Gulf of Mexico. Suh, 43, grew up in Boulder, Colo., and after earning a bachelor's degree at Barnard College and a master's at Harvard University, she came to Washington to work for then-Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo. She later connected with David Hayes, a former Interior official in the Clinton administration who was starting an energy program at the Hewlett Foundation, and when Hayes became Obama's deputy secretary at Interior, Suh came along to be the department's chief financial officer. The focus now, she says, will be growing the agency in the age of sequestration by looking for ways to cut costs without reducing services.

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