The California Governmental Affairs Committee (CGAC) of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Designate Rep. Hilda Solis requesting the incoming administration appoint Dr. John Howard, MD, JD, as Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, according to an ASSE press release.

The CGAC is composed of a representative from each of the 10 California ASSE chapters who monitor occupational safety and health legislative issues that impact its 4,000 California members and provide them with meaningful input.

“We had the privilege of working with Dr. Howard during the 11 years (1991-2002) when he served as Chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) in California’s Department of Industrial Relations,” John T. Steele, GCAC chair, said in the letter. “There he administered a staff of nearly 1,000 and California’s occupational and public safety programs known as Cal/OSHA. We have always had great admiration and respect for the professionalism Dr. Howard exhibited during the years that he was Chief of Cal/OSHA.”

As director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from July 2002 to July 2008, Dr. Howard’s accomplishments were numerous, Steele noted.

“Much of his success came in the heightened productivity and broadly improved involvement of NIOSH staff with the safety and health community, including his continued contact with those with whom he worked in California,” Steele noted.

The CGAC noted that Dr. Howard has an MD degree from Loyola University; a Master of Occupational Health from the Harvard School of Public Health; a JD from UCLA; and a Master of Law in Administrative Law and Economic Regulations from George Washington University. He is also board-certified as an Occupational Physician in Internal and Pulmonary Medicine and has written numerous papers on occupational health law and policy.