WASHINGTON — Inez Tenenbaum, the former S.C. schools superintendent, said Thursday that she will not seek another term as chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Tenenbaum, a Lexington Democrat, was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in June 2009, and says that after four years, she is ready to pass the baton.
“I have given this agency every bit of my time and dedication, and we have made unprecedented progress at the agency, especially in terms of implementing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act,” she said.
Since the implementation of that act in 2008, the consumer protection agency has completed 40 final rules regarding children’s products, including regulations for cribs, toddler beds, and infant bath seats, walkers and swings.
During her time as chairwoman, Tenenbaum, 61, also helped create the agency’s small business office and ombudsman to work with small businesses on product safety.
Although Tenenbaum is poised to leave when her term ends in October, she may be required to stay for an extra year if a new chairman hasn’t yet been appointed.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Tenenbaum was elected South Carolina’s state superintendent of education twice, serving from 1999 to 2007.
In 2004, Tenenbaum won the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, a Democrat from Charleston, who was retiring. However, she lost the general election to then-U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, a Republican from Greenville.
Subsequently, DeMint introduced Tenenbaum to other members of the Senate Commerce Committee at her 2009 confirmation for the consumer protection post.
Tenenbaum previously practiced health, environmental and public interest law with the Columbia-based Sinkler & Boyd law firm. She is married to Samuel J. Tenenbaum, president of the Palmetto Health Foundation in Columbia and a retired steel executive.
The State staff contributed.