Broward News

Who Is Nancy Nord?

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida wants Obama to fire Nancy Nord, chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. agency that he says ought to have been monitoring the quality of drywall being shipped here from China, the same drywall presently destroying the value of a slew of South Florida homes. Is she really that bad? Or is Nelson just looking for a fall guy, err, gal?

First, let's examine her credentials. Before being appointed by President George W. Bush, Nord worked as the director of federal affairs for the Eastman Kodak Company and as a lawyer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In other words, she was a lobbyist. Uh oh.

In August 2008, the editorial page of the Chicago Tribune wrote that Nord should be "too embarrassed to stay in the job" after working (unsuccessfully) to defeat the Consumer Product Safety Act, which stood to give her agency more money, the power to levy bigger fines, and the chance to better inform consumers about dangerous products. She may have lost that battle, but Nord did manage to shrink her department from 800 staffers to 400.

In 2007 Nord was called on to resign after critics said she had been unresponsive to concerns about unsafe toys -- an episode that triggered this pen-throwing rant from CNN host Lou Dobbs, who called Nord "imbecilic." That's the same year that the Washington Post found that Nord and the job's previous Bush-appointee Hal Stratton took some 30 trips paid for by businesses the agency is supposed to be monitoring.

Yep, Nelson's right on this one. But if Nord didn't resign based on the above scandals, no way that she will now. So she'll have to be fired. After the jump, a hilarious / terrifying video in which Nord tells Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill that while she could do a better job screening dangerous toys with more money, she doesn't really want more money. Big government bad!

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Thomas Francis