Bush Nominates Sam Bodman as Energy Secretary
President Bush on Friday nominated a senior Treasury Department official to be the next U.S. Energy Secretary, a surprise choice of a former chemical engineer with relatively little energy experience. The nomination of Sam Bodman, who is now deputy Treasury Secretary, would leave just one cabinet post unfilled for Bush’s second term. Bodman, 66, would replace Spencer Abraham, a former senator from Michigan, who also lacked energy experience before he became head of the Energy Department and its $24 billion budget.
Bush said Bodman, who is also a former deputy secretary at the Commerce Department, would bring great talent to the Energy Department. “We’ll pursue more energy close to home in our own country and in our own hemisphere so that we’re less dependent on energy from unstable parts of the world,” Bush said in a brief appearance to announce the nomination. Bodman said he looked forward to the challenge. “If confirmed by the Senate, my colleagues and I at the Department of Energy stand ready to carry forward your vision of sound energy policy to ensure a steady supply of affordable energy for America’s homes and businesses, and to work toward the day when America achieves energy independence,” he said.
Energy industry lobbyists and analysts expressed surprise at the choice of Bodman. “Sam who? I’ve never heard of this guy,” said one energy industry lobbyist, who added Bodman was virtually unknown to Washington energy policy insiders.
I’ve never heard of this guy, either. He is, however, a former professor of chemical engineering at MIT, so it’s no as if he’s some political hack with no clue about the issues.