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Senate Democratic Leader Recommends Nevadan for Open FERC Seat

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has recommended that the White House nominate another westerner for an open seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Reid has submitted the name of Jon Wellinghoff, a Nevadan, for the vacant Democratic seat. Wellinghoff currently is a shareholder in the law firm of Beckley Singleton in Las Vegas, where he specializes in energy and consumer law. Prior to that, he served the state of Nevada as chief of the District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Division. He also was Nevada's first consumer advocate.

At the start of his career, Wellinghoff was a staff attorney with the Federal Trade Commission and staff counsel to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. If nominated by the White House, he would fill the seat vacated by former Commissioner William Massey in December 2003.

Wellinghoff would be an "excellent asset to FERC as it conducts its important work," Reid said in a March 14 letter to President Bush. The Commission currently has one westerner, Commissioner Suedeen Kelly of New Mexico.

Wellinghoff received his law degree from Antioch School of Law, his masters degree from Howard University and bachelors of science degree from the University of Nevada in Reno.

FERC Chairman Pat Wood, whose term ends on June 30, declined last week to say whether he will seek a second term or go back to Texas. "I don't have anything new to say" on that issue, he told reporters last week. "But when I do, I will let you all know."

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