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Forbes: The Most Powerful Women in Politics 2012

6. Janet Napolitano

The first female head of the Department of Homeland Security, a position she took after serving as governor of Arizona from 2003-2009, Napolitano is at the helm of the third largest department in U.S. politics.The past twelve months have been put Homeland Security in the spotlight, particularly in the glare of June's SCOTUS decisions on Arizona immigration policy and Attorney General Eric Holder's "Fast & Furious" debacle. Voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school in 1975, Napolitano has a history in local and state-level politics but says moving to the national stage was a natural progression. "You've got to widen your scope and shift priorities," she says, "to keep the nation's borders secure."
(AP Photo)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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