Sen. Cantwell becomes first woman selected as chair of this Senate committee

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ernst
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo' nomination to be Commerce secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.

WASHINGTON D.C. — Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has become the first woman to serve as chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, according to a press release from her office.

Sen. Cantwell assumes the role in the place of Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who she thanked for his bipartisanship in the role. During his tenure as chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Wicker completed aviation safety legislation and reauthorization of the Coast Guard.

She becomes the second representative from the state of Washington to hold the chair. Sen. Warren Magnuson previously held the chair from 1955-1977. He held the role during landmark decisions regarding legislature on civil rights and consumer protection.

RELATED: Local Tri-Cities organizations receive nearly $150,000 in FEMA funding

During her remarks in the 117th Congress, Sen. Cantwell acknowledged the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its rampant impact on our economy. She says that the committee is working on a new transportation package that will help revive the damaged economy.

She also acknowledged investigations into fraudulent products, like the thousands of fake N-95 masks that were shipped throughout Washington state early in 2021. To do this, Sen. Cantwell knows that she must ensure she and her colleagues are well-educated on up-and-coming technology that inhibits this space.

RELATED: Thousands of fake N-95 masks distributed to Washington hospitals

“We live in an information age, and we just have to own up to it. To me, it’s better to prepare for that information age, so everything from privacy to broadband to AI to cybersecurity to STEM,” Sen. Cantwell said. “I look forward to working with all my colleagues who have had so much legislation introduced on that.”

During her remarks, Sen. Cantwell also made note of her commitment to seeing more women in positions of power and in the STEM field.

“To my fellow colleagues — all of you, but particularly the women, I hope that we can do a better job on strategies to help women in the workforce, particularly in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math,” Sen. Cantwell said. “I may be the first woman of this committee, but I can tell you this–I don’t plan on being the last.”

RELATED: Washington Legislature approves $2.2 billion in COVID relief

RELATED: Washington officials react to Biden/Harris Inauguration