By Douglas Doan
Some very good news from DHS has lit up the border with a new sense of optimism. Secretary Napolitano has apparently tapped, Maria Louisa O’Connell as the new Assistant Commissioner of Public Affairs at CBP. The border communities are thrilled to finally have someone at the top that has a deep knowledge of trade issues. For too long, CBP has been little concerned about the impact of new security procedures on legitimate trade and the economies of trade communities along the border. O’Connell has served for the past eight years as the President of the Border Trade Association (of which I am a board member), and has been the single most effective advocate for a more responsible border strategy. Moreover, O’Connell brings with her a deep rolodex of key players in the private sector, local communities, Mexican officials, Canadian stakeholders and local law enforcement, all of whom live and work along the border. Napolitano has made a brilliant choice.