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NTSB's Hersman Mentioned As Possible New Secretary Of Transportation

Would Likely Have Bipartisan Support In Confirmation Process

Among the names being mentioned to replace Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation is NTSB chair Deborah A.P. Hersman, and some in the know say she is the leading candidate for the post.

Hersman, a registered Democrat, was appointed to the NTSB in 2004 by then-President George W. Bush. The Wall Street Journal reports that she has served as congressional staffer for members of both parties, and that her nomination could receive broad bipartisan support.

Hersman generated some controversy when she convinced the FAA to give the NTSB access to some pilot-filed reports about safety issues. She said that the reason for the request was to help move the NTSB to a more proactive stance on aviation safety, rather than just an accident-investigating body. Her goal, she said, was to "identify safety issues before they result in fatal accident," but the airline industry pushed back against the plan, saying it was "unwarranted."

The outgoing chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-WV), said he would back the nomination of Hersman for the post. Rockefeller, who is retiring, said "she had been a constant reassuring presence" in her time as chair of the Board.

There has been no official comment on the speculation from either the NTSB or the White House.

FMI: www.whitehouse.gov, www.ntsb.gov

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