Senate panel advances nomination of Missouri’s Robin Carnahan to head GSA


    Former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (photo submitted).

    WASHINGTON — A Senate panel on Wednesday unanimously advanced the nomination of former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to lead the federal Department of General Services.

    The bipartisan voice vote by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sends Carnahan’s nomination to await a vote by the full Senate.

    If confirmed, Carnahan, 59, would lead a $20 billion, 12,000-employee agency tasked with managing work space for more than 1 million federal civilian workers, overseeing more than 480 historic buildings, and facilitating the technological, procurement and other needs of agencies across the federal government.

    Carnahan has experience with GSA, where she founded and led the State and Local Government Practice at 18F, a digital services agency within the agency that collaborates across the federal government to help build and buy technology.

    During last week’s nomination hearing, Carnahan told senators that one of her priorities as the agency’s chief would be working to shore up the “fragility” of the government’s digital infrastructure.

    She also pledged to harness the agency’s resources to assist state governments, noting the challenges faced by state officials over the past year as aging unemployment compensation systems were overwhelmed by claims.

    Carnahan comes from a long line of Missouri politicians: her father, Mel Carnahan, who served as governor, and her mother, Jean Carnahan, who became the first woman to serve as a U.S. senator for Missouri.

    She served as Missouri’s secretary of state from 2005 to 2013, and ran unsuccessfully for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats in 2010.