Good morning. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Co-Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee. I am pleased and honored to appear before you today as you consider confirmation of my nomination as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board for a second term. I am grateful to President Bush for this nomination and particularly for his confidence in my ability to continue to serve our Nation in this unique and critically important position.
I would also like to thank Senator George Allen from my home state of Virginia for his kind introduction and support.
With your permission Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce my wife, Heather, who is here with me this morning.
For nearly three years, I have been privileged to serve as a Member, Vice Chairman and most recently Acting Chairman of this small, but widely known and well-respected federal agency.
I have looked forward to this confirmation hearing since the announcement of my nomination. Not only so that I can answer your questions, but also to be able to share with the committee my pride in and enthusiasm for the National Transportation Safety Board. For nearly four decades, the NTSB has been at the forefront of transportation safety issues, the protector, if you will, of America’s vital transportation system. The NTSB is not only our nation’s premier accident investigation agency, but also enjoys a well-earned reputation as the most effective and authoritative independent safety body in the world.
Simply stated, the men and women who make up the NTSB are the “best in the business.”
I would also like to recognize my fellow Board Members, past and present, with whom I’ve been privileged to serve during my tenure in office. All of these men and women – Democrat, Republican and Independent – have brought a unique and valuable perspective to the decision making process that is our responsibility.
Whether determining the probable cause of an accident, recommending safety improvements, or deciding on federal enforcement actions, we routinely joined together with one objective in mind, to raise the standard of safety within our nation’s transportation community.
If confirmed to a second term, I commit to you and the American people that I will continue to make decisions and cast votes in that same spirit.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Co-Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee, we all agree that the transportation industry is crucial to our economy, and the independent Safety Board’s primary and most significant role is to help ensure the public’s confidence in the safety of this vital sector of our society.
What I have seen and learned as a Member of the NTSB, is that the dedicated men and women who make up our nation’s transportation community – aviation, rail, marine, highway and pipeline – the management, labor, owners, operators, and manufacturers, are all working closely with us to make a safe industry even safer.
I remain energized by the unique opportunity, if confirmed, of continuing to be a part of the strong and diverse leadership of this highly competent team of safety professionals and advocates. I am also very proud of the contributions I have made toward improving transportation safety during my tenure as a Member of the Board.
I look forward to answering your questions.