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President Donald Trump plans to give a key Commerce Department post to a Northwest Arkansas native.

Michael Platt Jr. will be nominated to serve as the assistant secretary of Commerce, legislative and intergovernmental affairs, the White House announced this week.

He will work for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Platt, 43, is chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., whose district stretches from the Nashville suburbs to east of Memphis.

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A Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment on Platt's selection. But a former employer of Platt, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, welcomed the news.

"I am very proud of the nomination of Mike Platt as Assistant Secretary of Commerce. Mike is a Gravette native that worked on my staff when I was a freshman Member of Congress. He will represent Arkansas and our nation well in promoting the economic interests of the United States," Hutchinson said in statement.

Platt earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 1996.

After winning a seat in Congress, Hutchinson, who is also a Gravette native, gave Platt a job on Capitol Hill: initially as a legislative correspondent, later as a legislative assistant.

Platt has held a variety of jobs since then, including stints as a lobbyist for the Recording Industry Association of America and TechNet, a major high-tech trade association.

Before he was chief of staff, Platt served as Blackburn's legislative director. The White House said Platt was Blackburn's "primary policy adviser with a special focus on telecommunications, trade and intellectual property."

Platt has also worked on numerous political campaigns, according to a 2004 story in the Benton County Daily Record. He was part of the Republicans' 2000 vote-recount team, working in Broward County, Fla., in the days after the election. In 2004, he volunteered for President George W. Bush's campaign in Ohio, helping the incumbent to carry the key state and secure a second term.

To serve at the Commerce Department, Platt will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

He'll have strong support from U.S. Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas' senior senator and a Republican from Rogers.

"Mike Platt was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Washington. He is an excellent choice to help advance Secretary Ross's agenda on Capitol Hill," Boozman said in a written statement. "His experience working for, and with, Congress over the past twenty years gives him a unique perspective on the inner-workings of the House and Senate and his time off the Hill has allowed an appreciation for how the private sector interacts with government. Mike will serve the Administration well in this role."

Business on 06/21/2017

Print Headline: Commerce-job pick hails from Gravette

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