December 16, 2009
Former Democratic Commerce Committee staffer David L. Strickland received gentle questioning by his former employers on his goals and intentions as the prospective NHTSA Administrator. The agency has been without an appointed leader since January, when David Kelly departed with the Bush administration.
The affection in the hearing room was palpable, as Strickland, who has worked for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee since 2001, received a standing ovation when he entered the room. From 1996 to 2001, Strickland served the Association of Trial Lawyers of America as the associate director and a lobbyist. Strickland’s nomination had been widely praised by safety and consumer advocates as a savvy negotiator devoted to consumer protection.
This afternoon, Strickland demonstrated some of his prodigious people skills, by devoting most of his statement to thanking and praising others, from his family to former committee chairmen under whom he worked.
The senators devoted most of their questioning to the driver behavior issues of distracted driving and impaired driving.
Although Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye jokingly asked if the committee could vote this afternoon, Strickland and other nominees at today’s hearing must answer written questions from the committee before it can proceed to a vote and final confirmation before the full Senate.