U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today chaired a confirmation hearing for President-elect Trump’s nominee to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. Thune highlighted Ross’ business, entrepreneurial, and civic experience, while stressing that his nomination comes at an important time in our nation’s economic recovery. Trade, American innovation, and cybersecurity best practices and standards are some of Thune’s top priorities for the next secretary of commerce.
Thune’s prepared remarks:
“Good morning, we are meeting today to consider the nomination of Mr. Wilbur Ross to be the next Secretary of Commerce.
“If confirmed, Mr. Ross would bring decades of business, entrepreneurial, and civic experience to this important position.
“Mr. Ross is perhaps best known for his expertise in revitalizing distressed businesses, such as those in the U.S. steel industry.
“At a time when most investors had abandoned the industry, he organized International Steel Group in 2002 and, through acquisitions, made it the largest integrated steel company in North America.
“Later, it merged with Mittal Steel to form the largest steel company in the world.
Mr. Ross’s strong record of achievement in business led Bloomberg Business Week to name him one of the 50 Most Influential People in Global Finance in 2011.
“It is also why he is the only person elected to both the Turnaround Management Hall of Fame and the Private Equity Hall of Fame.
“Mr. Ross’s business experience is complemented by his service to the community.
“Mr. Ross served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and he is currently a Member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of Harvard Business School.
“He is also an Advisory Board Member of the Yale University School of Management, which has presented him with its Legend of Leadership Award.
“Mr. Ross’s nomination comes at an important time in our nation’s economic recovery.
“And I believe his extensive management experience in the private sector, and his understanding of the challenges faced by workers and businesses alike, will equip him well for the job of leading the Department of Commerce.
“This large department, which has 12 different bureaus and nearly 47,000 employees located in all 50 states and around the world, oversees a diverse array of issues from trade to fishery management, and from weather forecasting to the Census Bureau.
“I will be asking Mr. Ross about many of the challenges facing the department and our economy.
“First and foremost, I will be asking how he plans to deal with trade matters as the Secretary of Commerce.
“I also want to explore how, if confirmed, he would continue to play a lead role in advocating for policies that promote American innovation, like freeing up government spectrum for private use and facilitating the growing Internet of Things.
“Mr. Ross’s experience turning around businesses should help him anticipate and mitigate the risks of major programs like FirstNet, the independent authority charged with creating a nationwide broadband network for first responders, and the acquisition of critical weather satellites by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Finally, I would note that collaboration between the public and private sectors is one of the hallmarks of the department’s work, as exemplified by the ongoing development of cybersecurity best practices and standards, which this Committee has strongly endorsed.
“Mr. Ross, should you be confirmed, we will be depending on you to continue this collaboration and strengthen it where necessary.
“Mr. Ross, I believe your business know-how and intelligence make you an excellent candidate to serve as the next Secretary of Commerce, and I look forward to supporting your nomination.”