Kathleen Kraninger, President Donald Trump's nominee to be the director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, testifies before a Senate Banking Committee hearing on her confirmation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 19, 2018. Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP

As those of us lucky to call Maine home know, our state is fiercely independent and leads the country in many areas, including lobster and blueberry production. Our elected officials also embody these characteristics, which shows exactly what we expect from those in our government.

Within the next few weeks, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will vote on Kathy Kraninger’s nomination to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position charged with protecting consumers and acting in their best financial interests. As is the case for any government role, this job is not to be taken lightly and requires a proper, nonpartisan vetting process to ensure each candidate is qualified for the job.

Kraninger’s accomplishments and appearance last month in front of the Banking Committee demonstrate her fitness for the job. She is armed with decades of government experience, management skills and a level-headed vision for the bureau. Amid the partisanship that took over her hearing, Kraninger remained composed and responsive, explaining her even-handed approach to the role — one which would empower both consumers and market participants. She is exactly what Mainers expect to see as head of a federal bureau.

At a time when government seems to have its hands in everything, we need to do what we can to limit inefficiencies and red tape. In her current role at the Office of Management and Budget, Kraninger oversees a quarter of a trillion dollars, and how it is spent by dozens of federal agencies, bureaus and departments — including those responsible for consumer finance issues.

With its current structure, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has an unusual amount of independence for a federal agency, which means it is up to the director to keep the bureau accountable and transparent to Americans. Without a doubt, Kraninger — an accomplished public servant who has served taxpayers for years in various roles — would do just that, as she has an understanding of the issues that come with the bureau’s structure.

The rest of Kraninger’s experience tells the story of a dedicated, policy-minded expert who would make those of us in Maine proud, even though she grew up in Ohio. Previously, Kraninger served on the leadership team that created the Department of Homeland Security, which brought about a massive reorganization of dozens of federal agencies and a substantial budget — no easy task. She also has served as an adviser in the Department of Transportation, a clerk in the Senate and a volunteer in the Peace Corps, demonstrating her well-rounded background and ability to work on complex issues.

As women have become leaders in the workplace, they’re now playing a leading role in financial decision-making at home. Women are the primary consumers of everything from cars to electronics. And some studies suggest women share in or are primarily in charge of a majority of financial decisions. While gender isn’t enough to qualify someone for a position, of course, it certainly gives Kraninger a useful perspective in overseeing critical consumer financial interests.

All of us Mainers, as well as Americans around the country, would greatly benefit from Kraninger as the next leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her experience paints the picture of a strong, principled leader who will put taxpayers first and avoid the partisan red tape slowing our government down.

Sen. Susan Collins has earned the respect of Maine residents because she takes her duties on behalf of her constituents very seriously. When Kraninger’s nomination appears before the full Senate for a vote, Collins can enthusiastically support her and encourage her colleagues to do the same.

We deserve a competent leader who will make the bureau more efficient, transparent and balanced. Kraninger is the right person for the job.

Susan Dench is the founder of the Informed Women’s Network.

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