President Obama said he will nominate Ann Begeman, the Republican staff director at the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, to be the third member of the Surface Transportation Board.
She will replace Charles D. Nottingham, the former STB chairman who is now the sole Republican board member. He is retiring from the rail regulatory board as his term ends Dec. 31. Begemen will join Democrats Daniel R. Elliott, who is chairman, and Vice Chairman Francis P. Mulvey.
That means Begemen, after confirmation by the Senate, could be in place when the STB begins reviewing some of its own longstanding rules that shippers have criticized as too friendly to railroads. The board has planned a public hearing for Feb. 24, 2011, on whether to regulate shipper-railroad rate and service issues on more cargoes it now exempts, including intermodal shipments. Chairman Elliott has said that is one of several major areas of regulation the board will review this year.
The White House said Begemen held several positions on the Commerce Committee staff from 1995 to 2004, including deputy staff director. She then became legislative director to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., from 2004 to 2009, and rejoined the committee staff in May 2009. Earlier, she had been a legislative assistant to Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D.
In her time with the Commerce panel, the White House said Begeman worked on "multiple surface transportation issues, including rail, motor carrier, and pipeline safety matters." She was involved with major legislative initiatives, including the law that terminated the Interstate Commerce Commission and created the STB, plus creation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
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