Ann Marie Buerkle, an Auburn native who has been serving as acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission since February 2017, is withdrawing from consideration to lead the panel and will step down from her post later this year. 

Buerkle announced her plans in a statement Tuesday. She notified the White House that she is withdrawing her nomination. 

President Donald Trump nominated Buerkle to lead the commission in 2017, and renominated her in 2018 and this year. However, the Senate never considered her nomination. 

Buerkle faced criticism for her positions as acting chair. At a confirmation hearing in 2017, she was questioned about the regulation of portable generators. She opposed a rule in 2016 that would require portable generator manufacturers to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. 

Consumer groups opposed Buerkle's nomination. But Trump continued to support the Auburn native to lead the commission. 

In a statement, Buerkle defended her record. 

"I have led with integrity and principle — always with our safety mission above politics," she said. "I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments achieved during my tenure and deeply appreciate the support and excellent work of the CPSC staff. I believe we saved countless lives by recalling millions of hazardous products as well as patrolling our ports to keep harmful products from entering our marketplace." 

Buerkle, who served in Congress from 2011 to 2013, was nominated by then-President Barack Obama to serve as one of two Republican commissioners on the panel. The Senate confirmed her nomination to serve a term that expired in 2018. 

When Trump renominated Buerkle, it included a new seven-year term. She plans to serve as acting chair until Sept. 30 and to finish her term, which ends Oct. 27. 

"Serving as a commissioner at the CPSC for the past six years and as the agency's acting chairman for the past two and a half years has been one of the most rewarding periods of my professional career," Buerkle said. "Nonetheless, the time has come to pursue new opportunities that will allow me to continue my life's work of advocacy and public service as well as spend more time with my six children and 18 grandchildren." 

Buerkle, 68, was born and raised in Auburn. She worked as a registered nurse until graduating from the Syracuse University School of Law. She worked as an attorney, including a stint as an assistant New York state attorney general. She left that job in 2010 to run for Congress. 

That year, she defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei by 648 votes. She lost her re-election bid to Maffei in 2012. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.