President Obama has nominated a former Pratt resident as a candidate for the Surface Transportation Board.
Deb Miller, former Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary, is one of several candidates for an opening on the three-member board that acts like a judge on regulatory matters and issues opinions and resolves railroad regulatory issues for mergers, abandoning lines, rate relief and other railroad issues.
“I’m excited and honored by the nomination,” Miller said.
Miller is scheduled to go before the Senate Commerce Committee for a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18.
She and other candidates will be interviewed at the time for the position. She anticipates the hearing to last as long as two hours.
A quick decision is expected following the hearing. The term of current STB member Francis Mulvey will expire on Dec. 31 and he cannot serve beyond that deadline, Miller said.
It is possible the decision will be known before Thanksgiving and the selected candidate would start serving on the board before the end of the year.
While she has been involved with transportation for many years, this will be a change she is anxious to tackle.
“I’m very excited. This will be a very different work experience for me. I’ve dealt more with policy in the past but this deals more with regulatory matters,” Miller said. “I’m interested to see a different slice of the world than I have experienced.”
Miller has been involved in the nomination process since last April. The opening was not on her radar until a friend called and told her about the position.
She was very interested and made contact with a friend in D.C. From there an interview was set up with the White House.
Miller met with then Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood for interviews in April. Following those interviews, the president nominated her for the position but much was to follow.
She then went through a lengthy vetting process, an extensive background search, and then a vetting interview before getting to the Senate confirmation hearing.
Miller is currently living in Topeka but is a senior associate with Cambridge Systematics in Cambridge, Mass.
They are a transportation consulting firm that works with in the public sector along with, the federal transit administration, state departments of transportation on issues including long range planning, performance management and create models on changes in land use.
If she gets the position, she plans on splitting her time between Topeka and Washington.
Miller grew up in Pratt and graduated from Pratt High School in 1973. She attended Pratt Community College for one year then went to Kansas State University and graduated magna cum laude in 1976.
She served as a planner for HNTB Infrastructure Solutions then was director of planning and development for KDOT before serving as KDOT secretary from 2003 to 2012.