Bush's NHTSA nominee raises eyebrows

| 2/8/2006

The federal agency that helps oversee truck safety could be headed by a 35-year-old woman with little transportation safety experience, if President Bush has his way.

Confirmation hearings were scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8, for Nicole Nason to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nason is currently the assistant secretary of transportation for governmental affairs, a job she’s had for three years. It is also her first job in the transportation field.

According to The Kansas City Star, the president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, Joan Claybrook, said, as a lobbyist, Nason was the Bush administration’s point person in opposing many safety initiatives that NHTSA is in charge of enforcing.

Claybrook said she was concerned that Nason’s “…never done anything regulatory. …She hasn’t done any policy work.”

During President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, she was a spokeswoman for the House GOP, according to her bio on the U.S. DOT’s Web site.

She also served as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois and as counsel and communications director for Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss of Florida. Nason also worked as government affairs counsel for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

If confirmed, Nason would replace Jeffrey Runge, who resigned from his post Sept. 3, 2005, to become the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.