The Senate committee covering commerce, transportation, and science issues in the space and maritime domains elected new leadership for the 116th Congress.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is the new chairman, his office announced Wednesday. He previously chaired the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) was voted in as ranking member, according to his statement.

Senator Wicker speaks with members of the media at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: Sen. Roger Wicker’s office)

“The chairmanship is a great responsibility given the committee’s broad jurisdiction across diverse sectors of our economy,” Wicker said in the statement. “I look forward to serving alongside our new ranking member, Sen. Maria Cantwell, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to build on the committee’s successes and continue moving our economy forward.”

Wicker is taking over for Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who was named Senate Majority Whip. Thune served as committee chair for the 114th and 115th Congresses. Wicker most recently chaired the SASC Seapower Subcommittee, overseeing Navy and Marine Corps programs, but SASC subcommittee assignments for the 116th Congress have yet to be released.

Cantwell is taking over for former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who lost his campaign for reelection against then-Florida governor, now-Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in the November 2018 midterm elections. She previously served as ranking member of the the committee’s subcommittee on aviation operations, safety, and security.

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has legislative jurisdiction over a variety of defense and homeland security-related matters, to include the Coast Guard and coastal zone management; nonmilitary aerospace science issues; marine and ocean navigation, safety and transportation issues; communications; and science, engineering and technology research.

In 2018, the committee held hearings on the need to prepare for increased maritime transportation in the Arctic region; Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet recapitalization; and the “global space race” with testimony by NASA Administrator and former Republican Representative Jim Bridenstine.