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Bush appointments not consistent with stated motives

The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun:

President George W. Bush has long prided himself on his commitment to diversity. And to his credit, he has appointed minorities to some of the highest positions in his Cabinet. That's why his recent appointments to fill vacancies on the new, expanded Tennessee Valley Authority board are so puzzling. The idea of expanding the board to nine members was to increase diversity and to bring people on board with different expertise. But look at Bush's appointments.

They include Dennis Bottorff, the current chairman of the Tennessee Lottery, two former state commissioners under now-Sen. Lamar Alexander, William Sansom and Susan Richardson Williams, Howard Thraikill of Alabama and Robert Duncan of Kentucky. Two other appointments remain unfilled.

Where is the diversity in this bunch? All are successful business people.

But Bush's choices add only one other woman. And there are no minorities.

What's worse, on a board that oversees a utility that sprawls over 80,000 square miles and part or all of seven states, not a single one of the new appointees has any experience in power production.

Certainly, reducing TVA's $24 billion debt should be a priority. And with the wealth of business experience the new appointees bring, the economic development prong of TVA's three-fold mission should prosper.

But where are the people with the experience in helping protect the environment? That's supposed to be part of TVA's mission, too.