Trump reported unlikely to nominate new TVA board members until September

Tennessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have submitted recommendations to President Trump for filling five vacancies on the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors, Corker tells Michael Collins. The senators’ suggestions aren’t provided, but there’s a rundown on some names mentioned otherwise.

State Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, confirmed that he’s interested. (Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, was interested earlier, but his withdrawn his name from consideration – previous post (HERE).

“Senator Alexander and I submitted our recommendations to the White House earlier this year,” Corker said. “We remain in close contact with the administration and have urged them to make nominations to fill out the board very soon.”

…Knoxville attorney Jeff Hagood, Oak Ridge National Laboratory executive Jeff Smith and former Virginia state Sen. William C. Wampler – the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker and the son of a former Republican congressman – also have been in touch with Congress members about serving on the board.

Trump is unlikely to name his first nominee to the board until September at the earliest. That would put him on the same pace as former President Barack Obama, who faced four vacancies on the TVA board after taking office in January 2009 but waited until September of that year to make his first two appointments.

But Republicans in Congress are eager for Trump to begin filling the TVA jobs, not only because he will be able to reshape the panel with a GOP majority, but also because of the utility’s importance to the economy of Tennessee and other parts of the South.

…Three of the TVA seats that need to be filled have been vacant since the end of last year, when Joe Ritch of Alabama, Mike McWherter of Tennessee and Pete Mahurin of Kentucky exited the board.

All three served terms that expired in May 2016. Obama renominated them for another term, but the Senate never confirmed their reappointments.

Under the board rules, members are allowed to remain on the board until their successor is confirmed or until the end of the year, whichever comes first. As result, Ritch, McWherter and Mahurin continued to serve until the end of 2016.

The other seats that need to be filled became vacant last May, when the terms of Lynn Evans of Memphis and Marilyn Brown of Georgia expired. Both continue to serve until their successors’ confirmation or until the end of the year.

In an interview, Ragan said Corker’s office told him that several people had applied for the positions. Ragan said he submitted his application late, so it’s doubtful that he would be one of Trump’s first nominees. But he said he wants to serve because TVA holds a special interest for his district and for him personally.

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