Report: FERC nominee’s confirmation hearing on hold due to spouse’s death

A Senate confirmation hearing is on hold due to the death of the husband of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominee Colette Honorable, political news website Politico reported.

President Obama nominated Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, to FERC Aug. 28 to succeed Commissioner John Norris who announced his resignation Aug. 7.

Honorable’s husband, Rickey Earl Honorable, 46, an Arkansas banker, died Sept. 7.

Politico quoted Senate Energy Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu saying the FERC confirmation process is on hold due to the unexpected death of the nominee’s husband. Landrieu added time was running short for consideration of the nomination prior to the November congressional elections.

Colette Honorable, a Democrat, is chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. She 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.

Prior to her nomination to fill Norris’ seat, Honorable’s name was raised last year after an earlier Obama choice for FERC chairman, Ronald Binz, withdrew his nomination in the face of Senate opposition.

LaFleur and Bay are the other two Democrats on the five-member commission. Commissioners Anthony Clark and Philip Moeller are Republicans.

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