By Libby Casey
President Obama’s pick to be the federal coordinator of Alaska gasline projects, Larry Persily, is a step closer to getting on the job. This morning, the Senate Energy Committee voted to advance his name to the full senate.
The committee, led by Democratic chairman Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico along with the top Republican, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, supported Persily’s nomination, and that of Patricia Hoffman, who’s up for a job as an Energy Department assistant secretary.
Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez voted against Patricia Hoffman, who will lead the Energy Department’s efforts to expand the nation’s power grids. Menendez is concerned about transmission line congestion in his home state.
But Persily sailed through this morning’s vote.
Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich pitched Persily’s name to President Obama for the job last year. At the time Bush-appointee Republican Drue Pearce held the position and was battling to keep it. But the Obama Administration said the federal coordinator role is a politically appointed job, and wanted someone new.
Persily is a thirty-year resident of Alaska and has worked in both Democratic and Republican state administrations, as well as in the newspaper business. His testimony before the Senate Energy Committee last month was without controversy. The committee’s vote was delayed until today because of record snowfalls in D-C.
Persily must now be confirmed by the full senate before he can start work at the Washington-based job.