Pres. Mellark selects Gov. Allan Perry for Sec. of Commerce, Sen. Michael Debroff for Sec. of International Trade

President Peeta Mellark announced his picks for the recently-vacated positions at the Departments of Commerce and International Trade.

To succeed current Secretary Tyler Thompson at the Commerce Department, the President has selected Governor Allan Perry of District 13. A Liberty Party member, Perry has served as the governor of District 13 for the past three years after being elected during the last midterm cycle. He previously served as the lieutenant governor to then-Governor Owen Talton, who now is the junior senator for the nuclear district. Perry also served previously under President Katniss Everdeen as the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, providing much needed experience for the role he is expected to assume. The governor’s elevation will allow Callista Abbott, who was elected with Perry to serve as lieutenant governor, to become the governor of District 13. That in turn will also raise district secretary of state Johanna Radclyffe to the lieutenant governorship and trigger a special election for Radclyffe’s former role.

At the Department of International Trade, Secretary Cynthia Garth will be succeeded by current Senate Majority Leader Michael Debroff of District 11. Debroff has served as the senior senator for District 11 since the first Panem Congress was convened following the Panem Revolution twenty-seven years ago, serving as the Senate Majority Leader for nineteen of those years. (The first eight years featured no political parties in the Senate. When the Liberty Party was founded, Debroff became one of the first senators to join the party.) As Senate Majority Leader, Debroff has overseen a vast expansion of Panem’s political world; he has served from the beginning of the nation to the present. Debroff’s ascension to the Cabinet is likely to be the peak of his career, and it will certainly lead to massive restructuring of the Capitol’s power structure as well as that of District 11’s. It has been reported that two senators are jockeying for the position of majority leader now that Debroff is set to retire from the role: Wendy Oppenheim of District 13 and Wesley Benson of the Capitol. Oppenheim, like Debroff, has served since the first Panem Congress and has massive experience as a result. She has served as a member of the leadership team in the Senate for many years as the leader of the Liberty Senate Conference. Benson, on the other hand, is a rising star in the party and was elected only three years ago. While many are impressed by his rise in the party, quite a few also believe that it may be a bit early for him to serve in such a role in the Senate. Conversely, in District 11, it now will become a guessing game on who will be appointed to replace the senator. District 11’s law mandates that an interim senator be appointed to serve until a special election is held if the vacancy arises more than a year prior to the next scheduled election to that seat. As the next election is a year from now, this law applies. Potential nominees may include Lieutenant Governor Wesley North, Representative Tina Li, or even Governor Vance Fletcher himself.


Secretaries Tyler Thompson and Cynthia Garth to retire, reports say

Despite previous reports that the shuffling of President Peeta Mellark’s Cabinet had concluded following the confirmation of Secretary of State Jonathan Madison, reports from the Commerce and International Trade Departments are saying that Secretaries Tyler Thompson and Cynthia Garth are retiring and that announcements for their retirements are forthcoming.

Tyler Thompson, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, has served Panem in multiple capacities throughout his illustrious career. He began his career in public service as the independent governor of District 5. His time as governor is marked as successful, leading to massive popularity for his administration in the district. Thompson then was selected to serve as Panem’s second vice president following the resignation of Plutarch Heavensbee, where he declined to run for a full term. Thompson was then nominated during President Katniss Everdeen’s second term to serve as the Secretary of International Trade, which he served as through her second term and President Rick Canth’s single term. Thompson also made an unsuccessful run for the presidency after joining the Liberty Party. Thompson’s resignation will trigger a wide search for the next Secretary of Commerce; potential replacements could include Governor Allan Perry (D13), Representative Myron Ramsey (D9), or former Governor Festus Ashland (D6).

Cynthia Garth, the Secretary of the Department of International Trade, has been a relatively quiet figure in Panem’s government but has been a staple throughout. Garth first served as representative of District 5’s first Congressional district before she was selected to serve as Panem’s first head of the Department of Transportation. In President Everdeen’s second term, Garth became the first Secretary of Commerce; however, unlike many Cabinet members, Garth was not selected to remain in President Canth’s Cabinet and was replaced by Samuel Trenton. She made her return when President Mellark nominated her to her current post at the Department of International Trade, making her the second secretary of the department after Tyler Thompson. Garth’s resignation also will result in a wide search for a replacement; potential nominees could include Representative Laura Cruz (D7), Senator Michael Debroff (D11), or Governor Trenton Escavel (D9).

A New Generation of Panem Politicians Emerges

Over the last two years, Panem’s political landscape experienced a massive changing of the guard. The first phase began with the midterm elections during President Peeta Mellark’s first term. The second phase was the presidential and vice presidential elections a few months ago. Phase three, however, is still underway.

Voters for nearly fifteen years became accustomed to seeing the same faces over and over again. The first regularly held presidential election featured three of Panem’s political giants: then-President Cecelia Paylor; then-Governor of District 13 Celine Oswald; and of course, future President Katniss Everdeen, who would go on to win that election. These three women have been at the forefront of Panem’s political scene since Panem’s democratic journey began twenty-six years ago. Paylor served as President, Attorney General, Secretary of Intelligence, National Security Advisor, and the Civic Party’s nominee for president in three presidential elections. Oswald served many years as Secretary of State under three presidents, as Vice President under Everdeen, and was the Liberty Party’s nominee for president. She now will serve as the Chair of the Liberty National Committee. Everdeen also has a long resume as well; she was a war hero prior to the election, served two terms as Panem’s president, served as Secretary-General of the Council of Nations, was Chair of the Liberty National Committee, and now serves as First Lady of Panem.

Of these three, only two remain in the public eye. Even then, they are taking a backseat in electoral politics and governance of the nation. The same fate has occurred with many electoral and appointed staples of Panem’s government: Haymitch Abernathy, Rick Canth, Walter Delta, Felicia Ren, Samuel Trenton, Kurtis Pierce, Thomas Stemp, Ophelie Murray, Walter Singleton, and others. Instead, Panem is beginning to see the start of a new generation of leaders.

This started in all honesty during the midterm election of President Mellark’s first term. President Mellark and Vice President Tarson brought about the very beginning of this changing of the guard when they bested political giants like Jonathan Madison, Celine Oswald, and others for their party’s nominations for President and Vice President.

Their rise was unexpected, and despite Peeta Mellark being a well-known figure in Panem, his electoral status was brand-new, just like his running mate. The midterms built on this; it introduced new figures, some of which have gone on to revolutionize the political scene. The Liberty Party gained new faces, or at least propelled some to prominence, like Senator Jacob Ellsworth (D3), Senator Antonio Wallace (D4), Governor Serena Ross (D5), Governor Layla Folsom (D8), and Senator Wesley Benson (Capitol). In the Labor Party, Senators Cedric Wallace (D8) and Lindsey Richards (D10) emerged, and for the first time, Centre Party members were elected to the Senate with Senators Julie Roydon (Capitol), Joseph Garrett (D15), and Clarke Randall (D9).

This movement only escalated as the race to occupy Stonehaven accelerated. Clear choices were made by the electorate during the primary contests of each party, each time deciding to usher in a new era of politicians as the nominees of the three opposition parties that had previously contested elections. Instead of rehashing their losses, Felicia Ren and Cecelia Paylor stepped aside to allow the Labor and Civic Parties to choose new nominees. Rather than nominate a former VP nominee or former contenders in past elections, such as Samuel Trenton, Kurtis Pierce, Walter Delta, or Robert F. Maxwell, voters decided candidates like Kaitlyn Jones, Iris Canstrom, and Patrick Newsom were far more appealing. The same applied to the vice presidential elections; instead of selecting Thomas Stemp, Lynn Germaine, or Ophelie Murray, we saw the rise of candidates like Delia Sutherland or Teraton Wendle. (Wendle did not win his nomination, however, as we will note in the next paragraph.)

The conventions wrapped up the second phase, cementing the elevation of this newer generation. The Liberty National Convention specifically put their rising stars in the spotlight; Rosalie and Valère Descoteaux, Jacob Ellsworth, Wesley Benson, and Jacqueline Warner skyrocketed to the peak of national prominence due to their addresses at the convention. Labor’s convention chose a different route; specifically, the convention pushed Senator Jace Walters (D10) to the forefront of the political scene as the party’s VP nominee. Civic and Centre threw two new faces into the spotlight with their VP nominations: Senator Quentin Kennedy (D6) and Representative Matthias Christian (D10). 

The third phase began on election day this past November, and it encompasses the vast majority of what changes have occurred. First, the Conservative and Centre Parties received new leaders in Governors Cooper McPharlin (Conservative-D1), Donald Beck (Centre-D6), Glenn Beckham (Conservative-D7), and Dillan Christian (Centre-D10). The Centre and Conservative Parties expanded their ranks in the House, resulting in a House with no majority. Second, President Mellark and Vice President Tarson were reelected, and upon that note, key figures began retirement. The result of these retirements has been the elevation of fresh faces. Senator Valère Descoteaux became Secretary of Defense; Governor Lynnette Cortez became Secretary of Energy; Governor Mason Wallace was elevated to Secretary of Homeland Security; former D5 Lieutenant Governor Sextimus Dalton became the Secretary of Transportation. As such, these ascensions to the Cabinet have resulted in Governors Harriet Myers (D12), Marshall Risinger (D15), and Senator Nicolette Lémieux (D14). These sorts of changes have continued with the workings of the second Mellark government. With the rise of Panem’s space program, we have seen the prominence of Lucille Tallow, who previously was a backbench Conservative representative.

Most of all, we have seen such changes as when the leadership in the House of Representatives collapsed. Constantin Richelieu resigned as Speaker, resulting in a race for his position that was a clear choice between the old and the new. Majority Leader Miranda O’Neal faced off against firebrand backbencher Wes Summerfield for Richelieu’s spot, resulting in a choice of the new over the old, with Summerfield now one of the most prominent Liberty politicians in Panem. He is also flanked by the newly-minted Majority Leader Brooklyn Howard, who succeeded O’Neal after she declined to run after her defeat for the Speakership.

These new faces are the faces we will see for the next fifteen years, ladies and gentlemen. The era of Oswald and Paylor is effectively over. Undoubtedly that era’s impact will be felt for as long as this nation stands; however, Panem has entered what can only be construed as a brand-new era. Liberty is not solely dominating Panem politics any longer. The building of our new democracy and its traditions has been completed over the last quarter of a century. It’s now time to consider where this country will go from here, and who from this new generation will lead it after President Mellark leaves office. Will Wes Summerfield or Cooper McPharlin be the next President of Panem? Will Kaitlyn Jones and Patrick Newsom run again or find another way to impact Panem politics? These are the questions that we must ask now. It’s time to consider them.

Janet Wesson to be full-time Communications Director; Isadore Santillan named Press Secretary

Janet Wesson, the Communications Director and Press Secretary for the Mellark administration, will experience a change in title and duties as she will now become Communications Director full-time, according to sources within Stonehaven.

Wesson, who has served as Communications Director since President Mellark took office, will return to that role full-time effective immediately. According to the sources, the President had been seeking for some time to allow Wesson to return to her previous role without having the additional duties of the Press Secretary position. Wesson assumed the Press Secretary role in addition to her role as Communications Director upon the ascension of then-Press Secretary Melanie DeFrancis to the position of Chief of Staff to the President.

Wesson’s replacement at the most visible podium in Panem will be Isadore Santillan, who has previously served at the State Department as its press secretary. Santillan formerly worked for PanemNews as its Stonehaven correspondent before serving under Secretary of State Celine Oswald. He will also make history as the first male press secretary, with three women preceding him.

Lucille Tallow confirmed as head of PSA, triggering special election in D2

Lucille Tallow, the Congresswoman from District 2’s fifth congressional district, has been confirmed by the Senate today as the first Administrator of the Panem Space Administration.

Tallow was nominated by President Peeta Mellark to serve as the inaugural head of the Administration, which is the first of its kind in Panem. Panem’s previous space policy revolved around low-Earth orbits and satellites and was initially implemented during the second term of President Katniss Everdeen. The Panem Space Administration’s initial goal is to put Panem astronauts on the Moon for the first time since the United States’ final landing on the Moon in 1972, with a secondary plan of launching missions to the dwarf planet Ceres and to the planet Mars within ten years of the building of a permanent base on the Moon.

Tallow has a long history with the space industry and is well-known as an astronomer. She has also been a prominent advocate for space exploration, noting that with Panem’s wealth and innovative success in recent years, the country could be the first since the United States to land on the Moon and possibly go further. Tallow was first elected to Congress six years ago during the midterm that ushered in many Conservatives to swing districts for the House of Representatives.

Tallow’s ascension to the PSA now triggers a special election for her seat in Congress, the first of such elections during President Mellark’s second term. According to Liberty Party sources, President Mellark’s party will not seek to nominate a candidate against whomever the Conservative Party nominates as their nominee for the seat in a show of unity for the joint leadership in the House of Representatives. Tallow won her first race to Congress six years ago over a Liberty representative by a margin of 46 percent for Tallow, 41 percent for her Liberty competitor, and 13 percent for her Labor competitor, which is a 5 percent margin. Subsequent elections increased her victory margins first to 15 percent over her nearest competitor, and then to 24 percent. As such, there is the possibility that this seat could flip, but for now, we here at The Panem Free Press are labeling this race as a Lean Conservative race due to the deal between Liberty and the Conservatives.

President Mellark formally establishes National Space Council and Panem Space Administration

President Peeta Mellark signed legislation into law establishing the creation of the Panem Space Administration today, along with signing an executive order establishing the National Space Council under the newly-established agency.

The bill that was signed into law established the Panem Space Administration as an independent agency under the executive branch, with the president nominating the administrator of the agency who will be subject to Senate confirmation.

Following the signing of legislation, President Mellark announced his intention to nominate Representative Lucille Tallow (Conservative-D2) to serve as the first Administrator of the Panem Space Administration. Tallow has a long background as an astronomer and is well known in her field as well as throughout the space industry.

Tallow has also been a prominent advocate for space exploration, noting regularly that the current world presence in space is limited to satellites and low-Earth orbits and that with Panem’s wealth and innovative success in recent years, the country could be the first since the United States to land on the Moon and possibly go further. Tallow is not expected to have a tenuous confirmation process as a result of her experience.

The new law also allows the president to establish subdepartments and councils as he or she sees fit, which led to the president’s decision to establish the National Space Council with the express purpose of bringing Panem astronauts to the moon within the next two years.

Membership for the National Space Council will be as follows:

  • Vice President of Panem (Chairman), Rebecca Tarson (D12)
  • Secretary of State, Jonathan Madison (D4)
  • Secretary of Defense, Valère Descoteaux (D14)
  • Secretary of Intelligence, Gale Hawthorne (D15)
  • Secretary of Commerce, Tyler Thompson (D5)
  • Secretary of Transportation, Sextimus Dalton (D5)
  • Secretary of Homeland Security, Mason Wallace (D7)
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Ronald Brown (D13)
  • Panem Space Administration Administrator, TBD (Nominee: Lucille Tallow of District 2)
  • National Security Advisor to the President, Kirk Hawking (D1)
  • Homeland Security Advisor to the President, Layla Montgomery (D11)
  • Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dotty Conway (D10)




Ethics bill passes House, heads to Pres. Mellark

The Ethics and Transparency Act, championed by President Mellark, has officially passed the House of Representatives today in a tight vote.

The bill passed by a vote of 109 ayes to 91 nays, with 21 Liberty members and 9 Conservative members voting for the Act. The bill, which is now expected to be signed by the President in a ceremony at Stonehaven tomorrow, is the first bill championed by the President that crosses party lines and is opposed heavily by the President’s Liberty Party.

The opposition party leaders heralded the bill’s passage, calling it “a major landmark in Panem’s history” and “a step in the right direction.” The Speaker, Wes Summerfield, called the bill’s success “a moment of relief” for him and the leadership.

The bill, once signed, will institute a ban on officeholders participating in lobbying on behalf of a foreign government at any point and institute a five-year ban on lobbying after leaving a position in the government, regardless if appointed or elected. It also will implement more stringent penalties for those participating in unethical or illegal behavior relating to lobbying and other similar professions.