Trump's pick for Air Force secretary, Heather Wilson, an Academy graduate and NM congresswoman

DENVER – President Donald Trump is planning to nominate Heather Wilson as Air Force Secretary.

The White House said Monday it would nominate Wilson, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and former New Mexico congresswoman, to the post.

Wilson served as New Mexico’s 1st congressional district representative from 1998 to 2009 and was the first female veteran elected to Congress. She currently serves as the President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

She was among the first women admitted to the Academy and eventually became a Vice Wing Commander before graduating as a Distinguished Graduate. She then was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and went to Oxford University.

She served in the Air Force until 1989 until she was picked to serve on National Security Council staff, and later founded a private defense company, Keystone International, and worked in the Gary Johnson administration before being elected to Congress.

While there, she served as chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence and was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and also served on the House Armed Services Committee.

But she was at the center of a 2015 settlement involving Albuquerque, N.M-based Sandia Labs after she allegedly lobbied members of Congress and the Obama administration for an extension of the contract with the federal government.

She was also paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for consulting with three contractors involved in other federal laboratories, but no one could document her work, according to the Washington Post.

She denied lobbying for the Sandia Labs contract.

“Heather Wilson is going to make an outstanding Secretary of the Air Force. Her distinguished military service, high level of knowledge, and success in so many different fields gives me great confidence that she will lead our nation’s Air Force with the greatest competence and integrity,” President Trump said in a statement.

The same news release said Wilson plans “to strengthen American air and space power to keep the country safe.”

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