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Former U.S. Rep John Fleming, of the Department of Health and Human Services, speaks during a forum on healthcare during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at the Pontchartrain Convention and Civic Center in Kenner.

Former Louisiana Congressman John Fleming has overwhelmingly been confirmed to take on a top role in the Trump administration's Commerce Department.

The U.S. Senate voted 67-30 on Thursday to name Fleming as assistant secretary of commerce for economic development.

A Republican, Fleming represented the 4th Congressional District, primarily centered in the northwest corner of the state, for eight years. He gave up the post to unsuccessfully run for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Fleming's name had been floated as a potential GOP contender in the governor's race this fall, but given his successful new appointment and the fact that he would have to step down from the administration to mount a campaign, it appears increasingly unlikely that he will enter the race.

Fleming, 67, has been serving as a deputy secretary at the Trump administration's Department of Health and Human Services overseeing technology modernization efforts.

In his new role, he will lead the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which is tasked with promoting economic growth in poorer regions.

A physician, businessman and former Webster Parish coroner, Fleming was first elected to Congress in 2008.

“He’s dedicated his life to public service, both as a military veteran and as a four-term elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives," said U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, a Madisonville Republican who voted for Fleming's confirmation. "And he’s just a great guy. His qualifications speak for themselves. He was overwhelmingly confirmed to this position by garnering support from Senators on both sides of the aisle."

Kennedy defeated Fleming in the 2016 Senate race.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, also backed Fleming's nomination.

"I know he’s going to work hard for our country and make Louisiana proud," Cassidy said.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.