By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The presidents of four regional Federal Reserve banks gained votes on the Fed's main policymaking group this week for the first meeting of 2013.
One of the new voters has said she's uneasy about the Fed's aggressive policies to support economic growth. Two others have been among the most outspoken supporters of the Fed's moves to attack high unemployment. The fourth new voting member has been middle-of-the road in his views.
The four replace four other regional bank presidents who, as part of the central bank's normal voting rotation, no longer have votes on the policy committee. One of them, Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, had cast the lone dissenting vote at all eight meetings in 2012.Of the 12 regional bank presidents, the head of the New York Federal Reserve bank always has a vote on the interest-rate setting Federal Open Market Committee. So do the seven Fed board members in Washington. The four other votes rotate each year among the 11 other bank presidents. Here are snapshots of the four new voting members who will help shape Fed policy this year: ___ ESTHER GEORGE George became president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in October 2011, succeeding Thomas Hoenig, one of the leading "hawks." (Hawks tend to worry that record-low interest rates and continued Fed purchases of Treasurys could ignite inflation.) Hoenig dissented at every meeting in his last voting year, 2010. George, who started at the Kansas City Fed as a bank examiner in 1982, rose to become the No. 2 official at the bank before being tapped to succeed Hoenig. She holds a master's of business administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In a speech this month, George said she was "uneasy" with current Fed policies and said the central bank "must not ignore the possibility" that a long period of unusually low interest rates could contribute to asset bubbles that would harm the financial system.