Chong Confirmed to CPUC Post

By Published On: January 12, 2007

After facing heavy criticism for allegedly misrepresenting the status of a telecommunications and video franchising issue, Rachelle Chong’s appointment to the California Public Utilities Commission was confirmed by the Senate. She won a 33-0 vote on the Senate Floor January 11, with some Democratic lawmakers abstaining. Senate president pro tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) said he was voting for her confirmation in the “spirit of bipartisanship.” He said he “received appropriate reassurances from her” about her questionable representations before lawmakers, adding that she was highly qualified and capable. “I will work to ensure we have reliable, affordable, and environmentally clean energy and clean water to drink,” Chong said after her confirmation. She pledged to work to usher in “the most advanced communications services at the most reasonable prices, in order to enhance economic development.” CPUC president Mike Peevey congratulated Chong during a commission meeting minutes after the vote, saying he felt “a bit of envy.” He added, “She got a better vote than I got.” The previous day, the Senate Rules Committee unanimously approved her confirmation, just one day before her appointment would have expired. The previous week, her commitment to consumer protection was significantly questioned (Circuit, Jan. 5, 2007). Committee chair Perata agreed to send her confirmation to the Senate floor January 10 for a vote without a Rules Committee recommendation because of significant concerns about “inconsistencies” in her representations to lawmakers about two key matters, neither of which involved energy issues. – Elizabeth McCarthy

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