- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - President Donald Trump is planning to nominate Heather Wilson as secretary of the Air Force.

A White House statement said Monday that Wilson, a former New Mexico congresswoman and president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, would be the first Air Force Academy graduate to hold the position, if confirmed.

Wilson served in Congress from 1998 to 2009, where she was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chaired the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence.

Wilson, 56, also served on the House Armed Services Committee.

“South Dakota’s loss will be the nation’s gain,” Randy Schaefer, president of the South Dakota Board of Regents, said in a statement. “During her four years at Mines, Heather Wilson has found money for new buildings, established new programs, increased research, grown enrollment, deepened the connection between the university and the community, and improved financial management. She’s been a great university leader.”

“America and our vital national interests continue to be threatened,” Wilson said in a statement. “I will do my best, working with our men and women in the military, to strengthen American air and space power to keep the country safe.”

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