Chairman Rockefeller's Remarks on Today's Nominations Hearing

August 5, 2009

I am pleased to welcome Mr. Dennis F. Hightower to the Committee today.  If confirmed as the next Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce, you will serve as the Department’s chief operations officer and take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Department’s $17 billion budget and more than 38,000 employees.  
I am confident that your work in the private and public sector will be an asset to the Department.  Your record at Walt Disney and Europe Online Networks has consistently shown that you have the management experience needed to excel in this position.  
Additionally, as a former professor of management at the Harvard Business School and a guest lecturer at universities worldwide, your ability to think strategically will undoubtedly help to shape the long-term policy direction of the Department. Thank you for your service.
We also have an opportunity this morning to consider President Obama’s nominations to fill the two remaining vacancies on the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Robert Adler brings to the CPSC extensive experience and knowledge about consumer product safety issues.  As a professor at the University of North Carolina, Mr. Adler is a distinguished scholar in the areas of consumer protection, product liability, ethics, regulation and negotiation.  Mr. Adler previously worked as a counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and as an attorney-advisor for two former CPSC commissioners.  He began his career as a deputy attorney general for the Pennsylvania Justice Department. With such extensive and distinguished experience, Mr. Adler is an ideal candidate to be a Commissioner for the CPSC.
Anne Northup is a former member of the House of Representatives, serving Kentucky’s Third District for ten years. While in the House of Representatives, Ms. Northup advocated for child literacy and adoption.  Ms. Northup also served for ten years in Kentucky’s House of Representatives.  Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recognized the policy background and leadership talent that Ms. Northup brings to the table when he chose her as his party’s nominee for the CPSC.
I thank both of you for continuing your careers in public service.   
If the Senate confirms your nominations, you will join the CPSC under the leadership of Chairman Inez Tenenbaum who is already off to a fast start.  She has rejuvenated an agency that has long been neglected, but which serves as the front line of defense in protecting American consumers from dangerous products.  Each year, consumer products cause 28,000 deaths and 33 million injuries.  These numbers are incredibly high, reminding us just how much work remains to be done.
Ms. Tenenbaum has committed to this Committee that she will work tirelessly to implement the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that we passed last year.  I would ask that you do the same.  Consumers and their children are counting on you to fully carry out Congress’ mandate to dramatically reduce the number of unsafe products.  So we will be watching your work closely.
Mr. Hightower, Mr. Adler, Ms. Northup, congratulations on your nomination by the President.  We look forward to hearing your testimony today.