If you drew up the specs for a commerce secretary, John Bryson would seem to fit the bill. Mr. Bryson, president Obama’s nominee, brings a distinguished career as a businessman, public servant and environmentalist. This is just the résumé for someone whose department is tasked with expanding exports, managing the census, monitoring the atmosphere and protecting America’s ocean waters.
Mr. Bryson — a former chairman of Edison International, a Southern California utility, and a founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council — has already received a wide range of endorsements. Supporters include the Center for American Progress, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other advocacy groups, and the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the main utility industry group, the Edison Electric Institute.
Yes, folks at the Center for American Progress, where I work, are fans of Bryson. How many times do you find a major utility executive who really understands how to bring clean energy into the marketplace and who has serious environmental credentials?
Here’s more from the NY Times editorial, “We Call That a Big Tent,” on GOP opposition to Bryson and why that’s a mistake:
Yet Senator James Inhofe and Representative Darrell Issa, both Republicans, have vowed to oppose him. Mr. Inhofe says Mr. Bryson is sure to be a tool of President Obama’s “job-killing” environmental agenda. Mr. Issa calls him a dangerous “green evangelist.”
There is much work to be done at Commerce. China has jumped ahead on alternative energy; Mr. Bryson invested heavily in wind and solar power at Edison. Another priority: The department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is largely responsible for monitoring the health of the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill.
We look forward to Mr. Bryson’s confirmation hearing, and urge the Senate not to delay. From all we know right now, he looks like the right businessman-environmentalist for the job.
Sadly, as fellow blogger Yglesias notes, “44 GOP Senators already have pledged to filibuster John Bryson’s Commerce Department nomination” until “Obama submits for ratification trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.”
We need Bryson now. The job market needs all the help it can get — and the clean energy industry is certainly going to be one of the biggest job creators in the coming years.