Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

May 10, 2017, 02:57
Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

The Senate has confirmed Heather Wilson as Air Force secretary, making her President Donald Trump's first service secretary nominee to be approved by the GOP-led chamber after fits and starts for several others.

The senators overwhelmingly supported Wilson's nomination in a 76-22 vote on Monday.

Blumenthal voted against Wilson on Monday.

Reached by phone after the vote, Wilson told the Journal she was sad to leave her current position but eager to get to work on what she contends is a beleaguered and outdated U.S. Air Force. Wilson was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, where she earned a master's and a doctorate in global relations. She subsequently lost races against Sens. She ran again for the Senate in 2012, but lost in the general election. Wilson, who is now the president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, has said she was not involved in any unlawful attempts to lobby federal officials on behalf of one of the nation's premier federal laboratories.

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I was pleased to meet with Dr. Wilson earlier this year to discuss her priorities for the Air Force, including readiness and hiring challenges as well as controlling the costs of major acquisitions.

Trump's first selection for U.S. Navy secretary withdrew his name because of possible conflicts of interest with financial entanglements, as did Trump's first U.S. Army secretary pick.

Tennessee state Rep. Mark Green (R), Trump's second nominee to be Army secretary, withdrew his nomination amid mounting criticism about his previous comments on LGBT people, Islam, Hispanics, the Second Amendment and creationism. He denies the remarks, but said his nomination had become a distraction. The Defense Department leadership remains staffed by Obama administration holdovers or civil servants on an acting basis. As SecAF, James was named to that position in October 2015 in addition to her other duties.

Under federal acquisition regulation laws, Wilson should have kept documentation of her consulting work. After she served five terms in Congress, she had collected about half a million dollars in controversial payments from nuclear labs that were said to be federally funded, according to the Energy Department's inspector general, who said this in a 2013 report.

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