From Erika Bolstad in Washington D.C. --
President Barack Obama has nominated former Alaska Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer to serve as chairwoman of the Arctic Research Commission.
Ulmer, who is chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage, most recently served on the president's oil spill panel, which looked at the causes behind last year's explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who recommended Ulmer be appointed as chairwoman, said Thursday that the president would be "hard-pressed to find anyone as thoroughly qualified and ready to serve."
"Over the years, Alaskans, Alaska's elected officials and the president have called on Fran to serve at almost every level of public service where she has safeguarded our interests and proven to be the smart choice every time," Begich said. "Fran brings an intimate knowledge of the Arctic’s environment, efforts to promote economic development in the region and the need for the U.S. to be a leader in the Arctic."
Ulmer, a Democrat, replaces Dr. Virgil "Buck" Sharpton, who has served as acting chairman since August 2010.