Hebert Talks to Bush Team

With the Supreme Court decision in effect handing the presidency to Texas Gov. George W. Bush, speculation has escalated in Washington D.C. over who will be named the next FERC chairman under a Republican administration.

Commissioner Curt Hebert Jr., the sole Republican on the five-member Commission, has been quite candid over the past months about his aspirations to succeed current Chairman James J. Hoecker. "If George Bush is looking for someone...I know that I'll be here and I'll work hard," he told NGI. Asked what he thought his chances of becoming chairman were, Hebert said, "I think you'd have to ask President-elect Bush that."

Other names that are being mentioned as candidates include Pat Wood III, chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission, and former FERC Commissioner Vicky Bailey, who now is president of PSI Energy in Indiana, a subsidiary of Cinergy Corp.

But sources indicated that Wood is more interested in being appointed to the Federal Communications Commission, while Bailey has little interest in returning to FERC. Neither could be reached for comment yesterday.

Hebert, who has close ties to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), said he already has been in contact with "people on the Bush team" in Austin, TX. In fact, "we've been working with the Bush team before anyone was running against him in the primary or otherwise. We continue to have those conversations, and are comfortable moving towards the transition."

Looking to the future, he noted, "I think it's important that we hit the ground running on Jan. 20, and get things moving continually in the right direction. There's a lot of work to be done here at FERC."

Hebert dismissed reports that he might leave the Commission if Bush ultimately taps someone else to head up FERC over the next four years.

©Copyright 2000 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.