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Thu, Jul 11, 2019

FAA Administrator Nominee Steve Dickson Clears Senate Commerce Committee

Vote Was Along Party Lines To Advance The Nomination To The Full Senate

The nomination of former Delta Airlines executive Steve Dickson (pictured) to become the next FAA Administrator has been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on a party-line vote.

Politico reports that the committee voted 14-12 to move the nomination to the full Senate.

Democrats on the committee objected to Dickson based on charges that he retaliated against a Delta Airlines Pilot for calling attention to safety concerns while he was senior vice president for flight operations for the airline, and then did not inform the committee about a lawsuit against the airline brought by Pilot Kathleen Petit. Dickson said that he was not named as a defendant in the suit, and was told by the White House and others that a such, he was not required to disclose his connection to the incident.

Commerce Committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS) said that the committee extensively vetted Dickson, and looked at hundreds of pages of legal documents as it considered the nomination. "It’s clear that Mr. Dickson was not a named party in any of these matters and was not personally alleged to have retaliated against any of his fellow employees who raised safety concerns,” Wicker said.

The Senator added that Dickson's answers to questions from the committee show that "his commitments to safety and protection of employees who report concerns ... are paramount.”

However, the ranking Democrat on the panel, Maria Cantwell of Washington State, said that Petitt had suffered "absurd retaliation" and that Dickson was clearly involved.

If approved by the full Senate, Dickson would take over the agency as it faces questions about the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been involved in two accidents that have led to 346 fatalities.

(Image from file)

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