Chairman Rockefeller's Opening Remarks at the CPSC Nomination Hearing

Opening Statement – John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman

June 16, 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the most important line of defense between consumers and dangerous products. 
Families trust you to keep them safe.  Parents look to you to help protect their children from dangerous products.
Unfortunately, the CPSC has suffered from years of budget cuts and poor leadership decisions that worked at cross-purposes with its mission.
That is why it is so refreshing to have a nominee, at long last, who is committed to reforming and reinvigorating the CPSC to better protect consumers from dangerous products. 
I firmly believe Ms. Inez Tenenbaum is the right person at the right time to lead. 
Ms. Tenenbaum’s leadership skills shined bright in South Carolina where, as State Superintendent of Education, she dramatically improved test scores and earned her state school system Education Week’s top rating for academic and accountability standards.  You don’t turn around an entire state education system like that without tenacious commitment and leadership skills.
Ms. Tenenbaum’s legal background and work for the South Carolina legislature in the areas of public health and child welfare also have prepared her well for this job.  She understands that when the health and safety of adults and children are at risk, you take action – and you never let the agency drag its feet with studies, delays, and half-measures.
I look forward to working with Ms. Tenenbaum as she leads the CPSC to implement the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act we passed last year. 
Every American – and especially kids – will rely on her to implement the Act in the most effective manner possible.
I hear the staff at the CPSC has been reinvigorated now that the agency will again have the tools to carry out its basic mission – and a great leader in Ms. Tenenbaum to guide the way. 
Ms. Tenenbaum will carry a heavy burden at the CPSC.  Myself – and the entire nation – are grateful for her commitment to this great public service.
She is a fighter for what’s right and in this consumer-focused committee, that is the highest of compliments.