Gov. Tom Ridge confirmed as first Secretary of Homeland Security

January 22, 2003

The U.S. Senate this afternoon confirmed White House Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to serve as the first head of the newly created Cabinet-level Homeland Security Department. The vote was 94-0.

The most immediate effect of his confirmation on general aviation is that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon move out of the Department of Transportation and into the non-transportation-oriented Homeland Security Department.

"Over the past year, AOPA has developed good working relationships with Governor Ridge and with Admiral [James] Loy, who heads the TSA, and we hope they will continue," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But one of our most important tasks during this time of transition will be to make sure that the new agency doesn't lose sight of its transportation responsibilities as it works to improve security."

AOPA also has a working relationship with Asa Hutchinson, whom President Bush has nominated to serve as the under secretary of Border and Transportation Security, from his days in Congress on the House aviation subcommittee. In his new role, Hutchinson would oversee the TSA.

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