Senate confirms Rick Perry as secretary of the Department of Energy

By Daniel Uria  |  Updated March 3, 2017 at 7:20 AM
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March 2 (UPI) -- Rick Perry took the oath of office to become the secretary of energy Thursday, hours after the Senate's vote to confirm him.

The Senate voted 62-37 to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee.

Perry, the governor of Texas from 2000-15, had the strong support of both of his home state U.S. senators -- John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans.

"The man was born to lead," Cornyn said before the vote, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

"Under Gov. Perry's leadership the state promoted cutting-edge innovation and sensible regulation in order to foster an all-of-the-above energy strategy that revolutionized the Texas energy landscape and the Texas economy," Cornyn said. "The state became not just an oil-and-gas powerhouse but the top wind-producing state."

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., spoke out against Perry's nomination before the vote, saying he avoided questions about whether he would preserve the department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of Electricity.

"We tried to get Gov. Perry to make a solid statement on these issues, but that's a commitment that he would not make," she said.

All Republican senators voted for Perry and he also got votes from 10 Democrats, including Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

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