Updated: 8:12 p.m.
Thomas Hicks, a House Administration Committee staffer, was nominated by the White House on Friday to serve on the Election Assistance Commission.
If confirmed by the Senate, Hicks would join a short list of black federal election officials. No black commissioner has ever been seated at the Federal Election Commission, although two African-American officials — Commissioner Gracia Hillman and former chairman DeForest Soaries — have served at the EAC since it was set up by Congress less than a decade ago.
An Office of Personnel Management political appointee during the Clinton White House, Hicks has worked at the House panel, which has jurisdiction over federal elections, for about seven years. Before joining the committee, the Boston native worked at Common Cause and started his Capitol Hill career as an intern for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Hicks has a bachelor’s degree from Clark University and a law degree from the Catholic University of America.
Ahead of his official nomination, Hicks’ former boss at Common Cause, now-Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), applauded President Barack Obama’s new official EAC pick, whose name has been floated in recent years for jobs at both the EAC and FEC.
“He’ll be wonderful in that position; he’s very good on tough issues and working with the public, but he also has a good background for this,” Pingree said. “He’s got a great range of experiences and cares deeply about the issues.”
House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) praised Obama’s choice.
“Tom Hicks has been a valued member of our Committee staff and a trusted advisor on election issues,” Brady said in a statement. “While I am enormously pleased that his hard work and tireless efforts are being acknowledged through this Presidential nomination, I will be most sorry to see him go. The Election Assistance Commission’s gain is certainly the Committee’s loss and I wish him well as he embarks upon this next exciting stage of his career in public service.”