WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall released the following statement on his vote to confirm former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as U.S. Secretary of Energy.
Udall is a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, which writes the budget for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
“New Mexico’s economy and the jobs of thousands of New Mexicans are deeply connected to the U.S. Department of Energy. Our state and the DOE employees at the labs, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and scores of small contractors and supporting businesses also play a vital role in our nation’s security. As New Mexico’s senator, one of my most solemn responsibilities is to ensure our national labs are strong and able to fulfill their mission of keeping our nation’s arsenal safe, secure, and reliable. When Governor Perry was nominated to lead the Department of Energy, I was skeptical that he was serious about the full mission of the DOE, but I also promised to meet with him and listen carefully to his current views on the agency’s mission.
“During our meeting and follow up discussion, Governor Perry committed to me that he will be a dedicated public servant and wants to be a strong leader for the department, the labs, and all the people who are impacted by DOE in New Mexico. And I determined that while we don’t agree on a number of things, including a variety of Governor Perry’s past statements, I do have a level of confidence that as secretary, he will aim to support DOE and its critical nuclear security and other missions. There may well be times of disagreement and debate in the future, but it’s better for New Mexico and the mission of the labs if we work together. From Carlsbad to Los Alamos and many communities in between, many New Mexicans depend on a strong DOE, and working with Governor Perry for our state will continue to be my priority.
“Beyond its responsibility for the nation’s nuclear complex, the Department of Energy also plays a leading role in the development of new energy sources, including renewable energy, and a better understanding of the threat of climate change. This is where Governor Perry can begin to show that he is the strong leader he wants to be. He should start his new job by assuring the department’s scientists, policy experts and other civil servants that he supports them and their work — including their past work on climate change — and that he will ensure they won’t be penalized or a target for political persecution.”