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Senate committee approves King’s nomination as NHTSA leader

Heidi King
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Washington — Heidi King’s nomination to become the next leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration moved forward on June 27 after approval from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

On April 5, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate King, the agency’s deputy administrator, for the top post. NHTSA has worked without an administrator since Mark Rosekind stepped down shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, and King has served as acting head of the agency since September.

King was the chief economist for the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 2011 to 2013, and was a regulatory policy analyst in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from 1998 to 2000 and 2007 to 2011. She also has worked in the private sector for Telecordia Technologies, Pfizer Inc. and, most recently, General Electric, where she was global director of environmental health and safety risk from 2013 to 2016. Additionally, King has served as a California park ranger and a volunteer emergency medical technician.

The National Safety Council praised King’s nomination in an April 6 press release.

“King’s leadership experience and commitment to safety are much needed at a time when motor vehicle crashes are killing more than 100 people per day in the United States,” NSC states. “King understands the importance of proven prevention strategies combined with forward-thinking innovation as we take aim at this everyday killer. We look forward to working closely with her to eliminate preventable deaths and make our roads safer.”

King now awaits Senate confirmation, which has come at different paces for other leaders of safety agencies. Raymond Martinez, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, waited three months from his committee’s approval until his confirmation on Feb. 13.

President Trump’s nominee to lead OSHA, Scott Mugno, has been waiting since Dec. 13 after gaining committee approval for the first time, leaving that agency without a permanent leader since Jan. 10, 2017. Mugno needed a second approval Jan. 18 because the Senate did not confirm the FedEx executive’s appointment before its session ended.

In contrast, Mine Safety and Health Administration leader David Zatezalo waited a little more than two months from nomination until confirmation.

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