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Paul Ray, a Chattanooga native, was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for President Donald Trump's administration.

Ray championed the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda as former deputy administrator and acting administrator of the office until the president tapped him to lead the office in October.

Ray was confirmed by the Senate in a 50-44 vote along party lines. He had been serving as the acting head of the federal office since March.

According to a White House report released in 2018, the Trump administration in its first two years eliminated 176 regulations and added just 14.

The deregulatory efforts saved the country $33 billion in regulatory compliance costs, according to the report. Ray was serving as an associate administrator during that time and was tapped to lead the office to continue deregulation.

Ray could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said Ray has served the current administration proudly and in several capacities.

"It's a great testament to his abilities [that] at a time when confirmations are not easy to come by, he sailed through with flying colors," Fleischmann said. "He has done the city and state very proud. His education and practical experiences are very impressive and I think he's going to do an excellent job."

Ray had limited experience with regulatory affairs before joining the agency in 2018.

He served as a corporate attorney for Sidley Austin LLP and as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

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