ARIZONA NEWS

Senate confirms Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit for NASA post

Mar 15, 2018, 7:33 AM
(Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore)...
(Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore)
(Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore)

PHOENIX — Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as NASA’s chief financial officer, the space agency said.

DeWit was confirmed Wednesday. He was nominated by President Donald Trump in November after serving as chief operating officer in Trump’s campaign. Before that, he led the state campaign effort for the billionaire.

DeWit’s approval was unanimous, bringing an end to his state job.

“It is encouraging to see more members of the agency’s leadership team being named,” NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a release to the media after the nomination.

“Jeff’s solid financial background will be a tremendous addition as we continue to advance our nation’s aeronautic and exploration initiatives.”

Last year, Congress passed the NASA Authorization Act, which gave the department $19.5 billion in funding.

DeWit, a Republican, was elected to the state office in 2014. By 2016 he was working on Trump’s campaign and said that he would not run for re-election in 2018.

“By the time I get through the Senate confirmation it could be near the very end of my term anyway,” he said in November, “so it’s really good timing.”

His term was scheduled to end in January. Two candidates have already announced runs for the GOP primary — State Sen. Kimberly Yee and Arizona Corporation Commission official Tom Forsee.

DeWit partially relied on his experience as state treasurer in answers to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s questionnaire.

When asked, “… What in your background or employment experience do you believe affirmatively qualifies you for an appointment to the position for which you have been nominated…?”

DeWit wrote, “As Treasurer of the State of Arizona, I have built a successful track record or managing more than $13 Billion in state investments as well as overseeing more than $30 Billion a year of inflows and outflows, all with a staff of 30 people. …”

He added that as CFO his responsibility would be to deliver on the agency’s mission statement to pioneer the future, “through day-to-day fiscal accountability, oversight and leadership.”

Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint DeWit’s replacement, who, by state law, must be of the same party as the outgoing officeholder.

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Senate confirms Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit for NASA post