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John C.
Republican TX

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  • Nomination of Tho Dinh-Zarr

    by Senator John Cornyn

    Posted on 2014-12-10

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    CORNYN. Mr. President, today I address the Senate on the nomination of Dr. Tho ``Bella'' Dinh-Zarr of Texas to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB.

    Dr. Dinh-Zarr is uniquely qualified to serve as a Member of the NTSB. Dr. Dinh-Zarr currently holds the position of Director of the U.S. office of the FIA Foundation, an independent nonprofit charity based in the United Kingdom which supports activities that promote international road safety research and sustainable mobility. I have been informed that, prior to assuming her current role, Dr. Dinh-Zarr also served as the Foundation's Road Safety Director from 2007-2014. Dr. Dinh-Zarr has extensive professional experience with traffic and highway safety issues, working previously as Director of North America's Make Roads Safe Campaign for Global Road Safety, a scientist at the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, and as National Director of Traffic Safety Policy for the American Automobile Association.

    I would like to highlight some of Dr. Dinh-Zarr's connections to our shared home State of Texas--in particular, her education and work experience at some of our well-known academic and research institutions. Dr. Dinh-Zarr and her family escaped Vietnam in 1975, eventually taking up residence along the Gulf Coast in Galveston, TX. From an early age, Dr. Dinh-Zarr developed an awareness of the region's extensive multi-modal transportation network and the importance of rail, marine, and pipeline safety in her community. One of her first jobs was working at the Galveston Railroad Museum, an institution dedicated to preserving the region's storied history of rail transportation through educational exhibits and programs. Dr. Dinh-Zarr earned both a Masters of Public Health and a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Injury Prevention from the University of Texas School of Public Health. She is a graduate of Rice University and worked as a Research Associate at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, TTI, widely recognized as one of the premier transportation research agencies in the country.

    The NTSB plays a critical role in advancing transportation safety. The agency is charged with investigating transportation-related accidents and making recommendations aimed at preventing future events. In order to best meet its goal of improving safety across our Nation's transportation system, the NTSB must ensure safety recommendations are reasonable, balanced and evidence-based. The agency's investigative and advocacy responsibilities must be considered in light of the unique and diverse safety challenges confronting our States, where innovative and tailored solutions can often more effectively reduce or eliminate the likelihood of future incidents or injury versus a one-size-fits-all approach. Toward this end, NTSB must place a high priority on transparency and accountability, working to ensure communities, individuals, small businesses, and all others impacted by its work are provided adequate opportunities to be heard.

    I am confident that Dr. Dinh-Zarr is up to the challenge. She will not only bring to the position a wealth of knowledge and experience, but also a Texan's sense of compassion and dedication to the service of others. I am pleased to join her friends and family, members of Vietnamese American community in Texas and across the country, and many others in support of this well-qualified nominee.


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