A year after record flooding along Lake Ontario, President Donald Trump will nominate a former New York state assemblywoman to serve on the embattled International Joint Commission.
The White House announced Monday that Trump intends to nominate Jane Corwin, a Buffalo-area businesswoman who served four terms in the state Assembly, to the U.S.-Canada organization tasked with overseeing Lake Ontario and other shared waterways between the two countries.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Corwin will be designated as U.S. section chair.
Corwin grew up in western New York and worked for her family's company, The Talking Phone Book. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University at Albany and a Master of Business Administration degree at Pace University.
She worked on Wall Street before returning to western New York to work for The Talking Phone Book. The company was sold in 2004. Four years later, she ran for state Assembly. She won a four-way Republican primary and went on to win the general election with 72 percent of the vote.
In 2011, she was the Republican nominee in a special election for Congress after ex-U.S. Rep. Chris Lee's resignation. She lost the race to Kathy Hochul, New York's current lieutenant governor.
Corwin remained in the state Assembly. But after four terms in office, she announced in 2016 she wouldn't seek re-election.
The International Joint Commission consists of six members — three each from the U.S. and Canada. Both countries select a commissioner to serve as section chairs.
Along with Corwin, Trump plans to nominate Rob Sisson and Lance Yohe to the commission. Sisson, of Michigan, leads ConservAmerica, a Republican group that supports environmental protection. Yohe, of North Dakota, is executive director of the Red River Basin Commission.
The current U.S. members of the International Joint Commission, Lana Pollack and Rich Moy, were appointed by former President Barack Obama. Pollack is U.S. section chair. One of the American seats on the panel is vacant.
There have been bipartisan calls for a change in leadership at the commission after the 2017 floods along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Record water levels affected communities mainly along the lake's southern shore. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Collins are among those who have said the current commissioners should be replaced.
The criticism of the commission stems from its defense of Plan 2014, a water management strategy developed for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River that the bi-national panel adopted in 2016. Some elected officials and residents believe the plan is to blame for the record-high water levels last year that damaged homes and led Trump to approve a major disaster declaration for counties affected by the flooding.
The commission maintains it was excessive rainfall, not Plan 2014, that caused the flooding along Lake Ontario last year. Despite the commissioners' comments, elected officials and other stakeholders have called on Trump to withdraw the U.S. from Plan 2014.