Homeland Security Sec. Ridge could step down after Nov. elections - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Homeland Security Sec. Ridge could step down after Nov. elections

(Washington-AP) July 30, 2004 - Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge might step down after the November election, telling colleagues that he's worn out from the huge reorganization of government, but Ridge says speculation about his future is an "inside-the-Beltway game" that he won't play.

Senior department officials say Ridge also says he needs to earn money in the private sector to put his teenage children through college.

The job of Homeland Security Secretary pays $175,700 a year, but government officials at Ridge's level can easily earn millions of dollars each year in the private sector.

Ridge said after a meeting on Friday in Miami that he won't comment on the report. Ridge says he has a job to do and will talk with Bush after the president is re-elected.

Assistant Homeland Secretary Susan Neely says Ridge will not make a final decision until he talks to President Bush later this year. Neely says Ridge is focused on thwarting the terror attacks that officials fear al-Qaida will attempt before November.

Ridge is a 58-year-old former governor of Pennsylvania.

updated 9:34am by Chris Rees

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