The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Arkansas utility regulator Colette Honorable to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
On the favorable recommendation of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the full Senate voted late Dec. 16 to confirm President Obama's nomination of Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, to fill the remainder of the term of Commissioner John Norris who announced his resignation Aug. 7. Honorable is to serve until June 2017.
The ranking minority member of the energy committee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, spoke favorably of the experience of Honorable, a Democrat, who also is president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. That praise was echoed by FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur.
"Colette brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the important issues we are facing," LaFleur said. "She and I worked together closely during her time as the president of NARUC, and I very much look forward to continuing that strong relationship when she joins the commission."
Senators from both sides of the aisle expressed support of Honorable in a confirmation hearing Dec. 4. Plans for her confirmation hearing had been delayed in September due to the death of the nominee's husband, Rickey Earl Honorable, 46, an Arkansas banker, who died Sept. 7.
Honorable previously served as executive director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board, chief of staff to then-Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe, and assistant attorney general under then-Attorney General Mark Pryor. A University of Arkansas at Little Rock law school graduate, Honorable also was assistant city attorney in North Little Rock, an assistant public defender, a law clerk for the Arkansas Court of Appeals and a staff lawyer for the Center for Arkansas Legal Services.
Norris, a Democrat whose term was to expire in 2017, said he was leaving FERC to take a post with the U.S. Agriculture Department in Italy. Norris' resignation came on the heels of Obama's formal appointment of Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to be FERC chairman and Obama's designation of his first choice, newly confirmed Commissioner Norman C. Bay, to become chairman effective April 15, 2015.
LaFleur and Bay are the other two Democrats on the five-member commission. Commissioners Anthony Clark and Philip Moeller are Republicans.