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Name: Nason, Nicole
Current Position: Former Administrator
Nicole Nason, the current administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, earned a bachelor’s degree from American University and a law degree from Case Western University Law School. Before joining the federal government, she served as government affairs counsel for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Nason worked as counsel and communications director for Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss of Florida, as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois, and as assistant commissioner of the Office of Congressional Affairs (U.S. Customs Service). She joined the Department of Transportation as assistant secretary for governmental affairs in 2003, where she remained until her appointment as NHTSA administrator in 2006.
Critics - including Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen and former head of NHTSA - point out that Nason’s role as assistant secretary primarily involved lobbying on behalf of the Bush Administration in opposing the very same safety proposals the agency enforces.
Nason is also credited with implementing a gag-rule at the NHTSA - a strictly enforced policy which prohibits agency experts (scientists, engineers and others trained professionals) from speaking on the record - about anything. (See Controversy section, “Gag Rule” for more information).
Nason resigned effective August 29, 2008.
Diplomacy, humor take new NHTSA chief far (by Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today)
Bush Names Choice To Head Traffic Safety (by Sholnn Freeman, Washington Post)
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