Former Ohio mayor gets nod for Commerce agency post

The Senate confirmed on Wednesday a former Ohio mayor to head up a Commerce Department agency focused on economic development in distressed communities. 

Jay Williams received the nod to become assistant secretary for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), an agency that aims to provide grants in regions around the country to help create jobs and attract private investment.

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"As the only federal agency focused exclusively on economic development, EDA plays a vital role in building sustainable economies in communities across the United States,” said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

“Given Jay’s wealth of private and public sector experience, I am confident in his ability to lead economic development efforts at the Department of Commerce and help build the foundation and set the conditions for economic growth and success in communities across the country," she said. 

Williams said he hopes to help the agency "fulfill its vital mission of helping distressed communities throughout the United States realize their local plans to grow businesses and jobs.”

Prior to joining Commerce, Williams served as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, where he focused on getting federal resources to areas affected by changes in the auto industry.

He also served as deputy director for the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

He was mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, from 2006 to Aug. 1, 2011. 

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