Obama to nominate Northup for consumer safety post

ralessi@herald-leader.comJuly 31, 2009 

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would nominate former Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville to fill one of two new commissioner spots being added to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"I'm really thrilled and looking forward to it," Northup said in a telephone interview from Washington.

Northup, who served in Congress from 1997 through 2006, must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

As part of a broad reform of the agency last year, Congress added two positions to make it a five-member commission, which is to be filled by two Republicans and three Democrats.

Northup said Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, suggested her name to the president for one of the GOP spots.

The commission, which is charged with regulating more than 15,000 types of consumer products, monitors whether products made in and outside of the country pose any risks to U.S. consumers.

Northup said she is looking forward to helping the commission implement changes that Congress called for in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act.

Chief among them is a more active role in regulating imported products, particularly in light of several lines of toys from China that were found to contain dangerous lead paint.

"Very clearly in the improvement act passed last year, it lays out that those companies who distribute and sell imported goods are equally responsible as those that manufacture domestic goods," Northup said.

Northup is familiar with some of China's bureaucratic environment, having traveled there as part of a Congressional Coalition on Adoption review of adoption policies between the two countries.

Northup, who lost re-election in 2006 and a bid last year to win back the Louisville seat from Democrat John Yarmuth, said she will likely split her time between Washington and Kentucky.

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