Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Sarbanes, Members of the Committee. It is an honor to be here before you today as a nominee as a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers.
My family is here with me today, and if I may I would like to introduce them briefly. My husband, Ricard Townsend, is a trauma surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. My sons, Brian and Kevin, are 9 and 11 years old and attend school in Pittsburgh. My daughter, Laura, is four, and adds immensely to our energetic crowd.
For the past three months, I have been serving as Senior Economic Advisor to the Council, focusing primarily on labor economics and microeconomic topics, including such topics as education and the investment in skills, welfare policy, information technology, and productivity. If confirmed as a Member, I would continue to concentrate on these issues, as well as contributing to overall policy discussions.
I arrived at the CEA at a very busy time and I have very much enjoyed these three months. We were completing the Economic Report of the President, and I was able to contribute to our analysis of multiple issues--such as, the demand for skills in today's economy, changes in the conditions of families, and the state of information technology and the new economy. This has been a challenging and rewarding experience. I have had numerous opportunities thus far to contribute to the work of the Council, offering a perspective that focuses on the importance of incentives and markets.
Established by Congress through the Employment Act of 1946, the CEA has a tradition of providing objective economic advice and advocating economic policies that promote the public interest. It is now truly a privilege to be considered as a Member of the Council. If confirmed, I pledge to continue this proud tradition.
I am currently on leave from Carnegie Mellon University, where I have taught in the business school since receiving my Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1981. During my time at Carnegie Mellon, I have received the Xerox Research Chair, and have been a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In the mid-1980s I took an 18-month leave from Carnegie Mellon to serve as a Visiting Economist at the Federal Reserve. My most recent research has been on human resource practices and productivity in manufacturing plants, with an emphasis on the demand for less skilled workers. While my research is often on business-related issues, I am very interested in policy matters. At Carnegie Mellon I have taught macroeconomics for many years, and thus I bring to the Council a range of interests.
I would like to thank the President for nominating me, and thank the Committee for considering my nomination today. It is particularly gratifying to me, as a professional economist and as a mother of three, to serve at the highest levels of government. I look forward to the chance to work with Congress and the Administration to foster continued economic growth and prosperity for all Americans.
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