White House Nominates Third STB Member

July 6, 2018

The White House announced last night that President Trump will nominate Martin Oberman of Chicago to be a member of the railroad-regulating Surface Transportation Board.

As first reported in ETW on March 7, Oberman, a former chairman of the Chicago-area commuter railroad Metra, is the Democratic pick for one of the three open seats on the STB. President Trump has already nominated two Republicans to the Board, both of whom have been approved by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

But when dealing with quasi-judicial boards and commissions like the STB, where the law prevents more than a certain number of members from being of the same political party, it is the custom of the Senate not to advance nominations on the floor unless Republican and Democratic nominees are paired together. So Oberman’s nomination may mean that, in a few weeks, the Senate can confirm three STB nominees at once, to join the two current members, Ann Begeman (R) and Deb Miller (D).

Miller’s holdover appointment expires at the end of this year, which would allow Trump another Democratic appointment next year if Miller is not re-nominated.

Oberman also serves on the Board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  In addition to previous service on the Metra board, he also served as a member of the Chicago City Council, and as General Counsel to the Illinois Racing Board.  Oberman graduated from Yale University and earned his J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

ETW’s updated list of pending and past transportation nominees of the Trump Administration is here.

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