The Senate on Thursday confirmed by voice vote the nomination of former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander as education secretary.
With the education post filled, President Bush has a complete Cabinet after a midterm shuffle that created new secretaries of agriculture, labor and education.
Alexander, 50, will join an Education Department that has been without a secretary since Lauro F. Cavazos resigned three months ago. Cavazos was viewed by some as too lethargic for the self-designated “education President.”
In contrast, Alexander was considered an “education governor” when he was Tennessee’s chief executive. He was chairman of the National Governors Assn.'s education panel and carried out many educational reforms in the state.
Alexander has been president of the University of Tennessee since January, 1988.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, said the panel had extensively explored complex financial transactions that gave Alexander a net worth of about $3 million in 1990, up from $151,000 in 1978.
Kennedy called Alexander an excellent choice and said the committee found no persuasive evidence of wrongdoing.
“The talk about my financial successes has been flattering but, I am afraid, exaggerated,” Alexander said. “I have made some good investments, which for a potential Cabinet member, I hope, is better than making bad ones.”