Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, R, said he will appoint Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to replace John Ensign in the Senate for the remainder of his term through 2012, and work with his secretary of state to set the timing of a special House election.
Ensign is resigning effective May 3, citing pressures of an ongoing ethics investigation. Earlier, after Ensign said he would not seek reelection in 2012, Heller had announced his intention to run for that Senate seat and Sandoval endorsed him.
Ensign’s committee assignments include the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which will soon have a hand in writing the next multiyear surface transportation legislation. He was also on the tax-writing Finance panel and the Budget Committee, which will play a key role in upcoming deficit battles, and the Homeland Security committee, which oversees how federal agencies handle cargo and border security.
It will be up to Senate GOP leaders to determine Heller’s assignments and how to fill Ensign’s current committee postings.
Sandoval said Heller is an experienced lawmaker “who can begin work immediately.” “Too many important issues face our state and our nation to name a caretaker to this important position,” he said.
The governor said Heller “will fight to keep taxes low and balance the federal budget. He understands that the federal government spends too much money and places too many regulatory burdens on small business.”