Thank you Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the kind remarks from Senators McConnell and Bunning on my nomination. I also appreciate the support of members of the Kentucky Congressional Delegation.
I thank President Bush for nominating me to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board. I am honored he chose me for this challenging position.
I appreciate the help of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the TVA staff in preparing me for the confirmation hearings.
I thank my wife Joanne, son Rob, and daughter-in-law Valerie for their support and assistance. I regret that they could not be present today.
Mr. Chairman and Senators, as a young boy growing up near the Tennessee-Kentucky border, I never imagined I would one day appear before a Senate committee as a presidential nominee, and being here today is a highlight of my life. I was born in a clinic served by the Tennessee Valley Authority, attended the first year of school in a two- room building powered by TVA, and observed first hand during the 1950’s and 60’s the difference TVA made in people’s lives. My father still lives in Scott County, Tennessee. Although I do not live in the part of Kentucky served by TVA, I have a historic appreciation of its role in the region.
I have chosen to spend my life in rural Appalachia and I am fortunate to be involved with community and economic development at many levels. My background enables me to appreciate the TVA’s primary mission of generating and transmitting safe, reliable and affordable electricity while respecting the environment and promoting economic development.
My decades of experience as a community banker provide a unique perspective in analyzing TVA’s operational and financial efficiencies. I am pleased to see TVA’s emphasis on financial flexibility through debt reduction. All financial issues must be viewed through the lens of changing competition. The electric-utility industry is constantly restructuring and the TVA’s 158 power distributors customers and 61 directly served industries and federal agencies are constantly looking for lower cost power.
Addressing the need to create clean and safe power is very important, and meeting clean air standards is essential. I applaud TVA’s continuing investment in modifications to its coal-fired plants. I am confident that TVA can be a leader in environmental stewardship.
As an attorney, I read the most recent amendment to the TVA Act mandating sweeping change of the agency’s management. I embrace the enumerated duties of the board and understand, if confirmed, that my obligation is to establish broad goals, objectives and policies while developing long range plans. Arguably, our most important decision is to hire a Chief Executive Officer with senior level experience and hold him or her accountable.
To paraphrase President Bush, being considered for this position is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it is the opportunity of a lifetime. I promise, if confirmed, I will make the most of the opportunity by balancing the needs of the country, the Tennessee Valley’s residents and the communities in which they live.
I look forward to answering the Committee’s questions today, and if confirmed, to working with each of you to ensure the success of the Tennessee Valley Authority.