President Obama has nominated an Iowan who’s been chief of staff to U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to instead to one of the nation’s energy regulators. John Norris, a southwest Iowa native with a long history in Iowa politics, has been nominated to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Norris served as Iowa’s top utility regulator for four years. He left that job as chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board to move, with his family, to Washington, D.C. a few months ago.
His wife, Jackie Norris, was First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff until last week. She’s been reassigned to serve as senior advisor to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
John Norris has prior D.C. experience. He served as Congressman Leonard Boswell’s chief of staff in the late ’90s, before returning to Iowa to help Tom Vilsack win his 1998 race for governor. Norris has worked for a variety of presidential candidates, too, including Obama, John Kerry, and Jesse Jackson.