Auburn native Ann Marie Buerkle is one step closer to being confirmed as chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved Buerkle's nomination Wednesday. The final hurdle will be the full Senate, which is expected to confirm her as chair.
President Donald Trump nominated Buerkle to lead the commission, which oversees safety standards for household chemicals, toys and other consumer products. She was also nominated to serve a full seven-year term on the commission.
There was some controversy with Buerkle's nomination. Her stance on regulating portable generators was criticized by Senate Democrats during a hearing last week. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, noted that 11 residents of his state died of carbon monoxide poisoning from using portable generators in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Buerkle supports a voluntary standard for the portable generator industry to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. Advocates and Senate Democrats who have spoken out on the issue prefer a mandatory rule that would require portable generator manufacturers to add shut-off technology.
When the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation met to consider a handful of appointments and legislation, Buerkle's nomination was the only item on the agenda that required a roll call vote. The committee advanced her nomination by a party line vote, 14-13.
Buerkle was born and raised in Auburn. She began her career as a registered nurse before earning her law degree. She was a New York state assistant attorney general for 13 years. In 2010, she ran for Congress and won. She served in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013.
After losing her re-election bid, she was nominated by President Barack Obama to a seat on the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2013. The Senate confirmed her nomination and she joined the five-member commission.
Buerkle has been the commission's acting chair since February.
"After having worked here for four years, I know the issues and I've developed a relationship with the stakeholders," she said in an interview with The Citizen in July. "I think part of that was what led to the nomination and I've had tremendous support from my colleagues here on both sides of the aisle, which I'm also very grateful for that."