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Biden chooses nominee to lead MSHA

By |  November 15, 2021

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President Biden selected Chris Williamson as his nominee to head the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA).

According to the White House, Williamson is a native of West Virginia who currently serves as senior counsel to chairman Lauren McFerran of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Prior to joining NLRB, Williamson served in the Obama administration as a member of the senior leadership team at MSHA, advising the assistant secretary for mine safety and health on all aspects of agency policy, operations and communications.

The nomination of Williamson drew praise from the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

“Chris Williamson is the most knowledgeable expert on mine safety and health in Washington today,” says Cecil Roberts, president of UMWA. “His in-depth understanding of what it takes to keep miners safer and healthier at work is unmatched, and I expect that the Mine Safety & Health Administration will be a stronger advocate for miners under his watch.”

Before his tenure at MSHA, Williamson worked as labor counsel to former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, as well as a legislative assistant to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). As labor counsel, the White House says Williamson advised Harkin and committee members on labor, occupational and mine safety and health, and black lung benefits and other workers’ compensation issues. Williamson was also Manchin’s primary policy advisor on labor, mine safety and health, pensions and agriculture issues, advising the senator on energy and environmental policy.

Williamson began his career in public service as an attorney-advisor to Jacqueline Bulluck, an administrative law judge at the Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission. He earned a Juris Doctor from the West Virginia University College of Law, a Master of Public Policy from American University and a bachelor of arts in political science and economics from West Virginia University.

Jeannette Galanis currently serves MSHA as deputy assistant secretary for policy. Biden appointed Galanis to the position in February 2021.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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