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Hobson lands role on nuke panel

Former Springfield representative named by Democrat to oversight group.

Former U.S. Rep. Dave Hobson, R-Springfield, has been appointed to a congressional panel overseeing the federal agency maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons.

As part of this year’s defense bill, the panel will seek ways to improve the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-independent agency affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy, which builds and maintains nuclear weapons systems for the country.

It will mark the first time Hobson has returned to Congress in an official capacity since his retirement 4½ years ago.

“It was nice to be chosen,” Hobson said.

Carl Levin, D-Mich., selected Hobson for the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, which will deliver a report on the NNSA in 2014.

Levin, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had two appointments, and also tapped Dr. Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Hobson said.

Hobson, who represented Ohio’s 7th District for 18 years, previously served as the chairman of the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development subcommittee, which also controlled funding for the NNSA.

“Our nuclear posture is always very important as a deterrent,” Hobson said. “It’s a shame we have to have nuclear weapons, but we do, and we’ll have to have them in the foreseeable future. The maintenance, reliability and quantity of those weapons is important. The operation of the agency that does that is extremely important. In times of limited funds, you have to make sure they’re being used wisely and appropriately.”

During his time in office, Hobson worked to kill a Bush administration program on an “bunker buster” for the country’s nuclear stockpile and also fought the creation of new nuclear weapons.

“I’m sure they had looked at what I’d done in the past,” Hobson said. “I’ll serve as best I can. When you’re asked to do something like this, you have to take it on seriously.”

Hobson is currently working as a lobbyist, and he said his clients won’t be affected by his appointment. None of his clients, Hobson said, are tied to the weapons industry.

The closest would be the United States Enrichment Corporation, which has a location in Piketon, Ohio. The facility is an advanced uranium enrichment facility that will produce low enriched uranium, a key component for the fabrication of commercial nuclear fuel, according to its website.

“I don’t see any conflict there,” Hobson said. “Most of my clients have looked at it as a positive.”

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