As expected, President-Elect Obama named Bill Richardson as his pick for Commerce Secretary on Wednesday. The only real surprise to come out of yesterday is that Richardson is once again clean-shaven. Richardson’s interest in commercial space in particular has previously been noted here.
Another Cabinet pick yet to be announced, though, is Transportation Secretary. Last month some space advocates got concerned about reports that Congressman James Oberstar was being considered for the job, given Oberstar’s past opposition to the 2004 Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act and a failed attempt the following year to undo some of the provisions of that legislation. However, MinnPost.com reported last week that Oberstar is unlikely to take the job, even if offered. Oberstar’s spokesman said that the congressman would enjoy more power in his current position as a committee chairman than as a cabinet secretary, where “he’d have to keep his vision in line within the views of the administration.” An administration that now will include one person who vowed just over a month ago to ensure it would be “pro-commercial space”.