Commerce Pick Bryson Is in Key Role

Filling a key role in his cabinet, as Commerce Department secretary, praising the 67-year-old for his "decades of business experience across a range of industries."

Bryson's long career of support for nuclear power, solar energy, and legal activism in the field, is likely to draw both backers and detractors. So far, business groups have seemed to respond positively, if carefully, to the president's choice. The that his service with manufacturing companies "gives him the advantage of having exposure to the difficult issues manufacturers face" globally. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it hoped he would be "a strong voice for American business."

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Bryson currently is chairman of ., a developer of solar power plants. He also is a cofounder and former attorney for the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and a onetime head of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

If the Senate confirms him, Bryson would replace Secretary Gary Locke, who Obama has nominated as U.S. ambassador to China.