Senate confirms Rick Perry to lead Department of Energy

The votes for Perry and Carson, both Trump rivals during the 2016 GOP presidential primary contest, bring the president close to having a full Cabinet after the confirmation process for weeks was held up amid Democratic pushback.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, opened the Senate debate Thursday with a ringing endorsement of Perry.

Duncan provided the following statement in support of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's appointment as the Secretary of the Department of Energy, which was confirmed today [Thursday] with a bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate.

Perry will now run the department that ensures America's security via overseeing its nuclear arsenal and its energy and environmental challenges.

Perry also appeared to reverse course on the issue of climate change, saying he believes the climate is changing and that some of it is caused by man-made activity.

In his short-lived second campaign for president, Perry was among Trump's fiercest critics.

Perry, the governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, had the strong support of both of his home state USA senators - John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans.

But the state also emerged as a leading producer of wind power and a top 10 provider of solar power.

The main criticism Perry has faced in regards to his appointment aside from his hesitance on anthropogenic climate change, is his lack of experience in nuclear matters in contrast to former energy secretary Ernest Moinz who is a nuclear physicist. The one he forgot was the Energy Department.

He has said he'll work to develop American energy in all forms which is good news to Senator John Hoeven.

"I've known Rick Perry for a long time and am pleased the Senate has voted to confirm him as energy secretary", Alexander said in a statement.