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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Inez Moore Tenenbaum has been sworn in as the ninth Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). President Barack Obama nominated Ms. Tenenbaum on June 9, 2009, she was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009, and was officially sworn in on June 23, 2009 to a term that expires in October 2013.
"I am honored to have been nominated by the President to lead CPSC and plan to be a consumer advocate for families across the United States," said Chairman Tenenbaum. "My life's work has been to improve the quality of life for children and it will continue to be my highest priority at CPSC."
Ms. Tenenbaum identified three major areas of focus for her common sense approach to serving as Chairman. "First, I want CPSC to be more accessible and transparent to parents and consumers. By creating an electronic database of product incident reports that consumers can search and by collaborating with state and local agencies and consumer groups, we can give the public confidence that CPSC is working openly and in their best interest," she stated.
Second, Ms. Tenenbaum will prioritize education and advocacy during her tenure. "My background is in public education and I believe strongly that all consumers should be informed about product hazards, especially those that impact children. I encourage every consumer to log on to CPSC.gov and sign up to receive free e-mail alerts about recalls," she added.
Third, Ms. Tenenbaum is committed to enforcing the law and working to keep dangerous imports out of the hands of consumers. She stated, "Parents should know that CPSC will improve the standards for toys and durable nursery products to help keep kids safe. We will also create a system that uses third party laboratories, tracking labels, and CPSC staff at major ports, to do our part to ensure that product imports are safe and comply with U.S. safety rules."
Working closely with the outstanding staff and Commissioners at CPSC is central to the Chairman's leadership of the agency.
Ms. Tenenbaum was elected South Carolina's State Superintendent of Education in 1998 and completed her second term in 2007. Throughout her career, Ms. Tenenbaum has been an energetic and determined advocate for children and families and has extensive experience in administrative and regulatory matters.
During her tenure as South Carolina's State Superintendent of Education, student achievement in South Carolina improved at the fastest rate in the nation, with scores increasing on every state, national, and international test administered. At the end of Ms. Tenenbaum's tenure, the prestigious journal Education Week ranked South Carolina number one in the country for the quality of its academic standards, assessment, and accountability systems.
She previously practiced health, environmental, and public interest law with the firm Sinkler & Boyd, P.A. Before attending law school, Ms. Tenenbaum served as the director of research for the Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee of the South Carolina House of Representatives. She carried out the Committee's responsibilities for all legislation relating to public health, the environment, child welfare, social services, adult and juvenile corrections, state military affairs, and local government.
Ms. Tenenbaum served as special counsel to the McNair Law Firm in the area of public school finance prior to being nominated by the President.
She has also served on numerous task forces that provide oversight on children and family services in the state.
Ms. Tenenbaum received her Bachelor of Science in 1972 and Master of Education degree in 1974 from the University of Georgia and her law degree in 1986 from the University of South Carolina. She is the recipient of several honorary degrees and has been recognized by numerous state and community organizations for her civic work on behalf of children and families.
Ms. Tenenbaum is married to Samuel J. Tenenbaum.