The Commissioners

The Commissioners

William J. Rainer, Chairman

William J. Rainer was sworn in as a Commissioner and the eighth Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on August 11, 1999.  Mr. Rainer was nominated by President Clinton on June 23, 1999, and confirmed by the Senate on August 5, 1999, to serve a term expiring April 13, 2004.

From 1971 to 1981, Mr. Rainer successfully worked on numerous assignments for Kidder, Peabody & Co., Inc.  His positions of responsibility included: Managing Director, Kidder, Peabody Securities, Ltd. (London); Manager, Corporate Bond Trading; and Director, Fixed Income Marketing.  In 1981, Mr. Rainer co-founded Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc., a primary dealer of government securities. From 1981 to 1987, he served as Managing Director of the firm. From 1994 until its privatization in 1998, Mr. Rainer was Chairman of the United States Enrichment Corporation.  From 1988 until he joined the CFTC, Mr. Rainer was a private investor.

A resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mr. Rainer received B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from Southern Methodist University. Mr. Rainer and his wife, Carolyn, have three children.


Barbara P. Holum, Commissioner

Barbara Pedersen Holum was nominated to be a Commissioner of the CFTC by President Clinton on November 8, 1993, was confirmed by the Senate on November 19, 1993, and was sworn in on November 28, 1993.  On December 23, 1993, she was elected by seriatim order of the Commission to serve as Acting Chairman.  Ms. Holum served in this capacity until October 12, 1994.  She was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee on CFTC-State Cooperation on March 14, 1994, and appointed Chairman of the Global Markets Advisory Committee on March 10, 1998.  Commissioner Holum was confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 1998, and sworn in on August 4, 1998, to serve a second term as Commissioner at the CFTC.

Prior to joining the CFTC, Ms. Holum was President of the National Agricultural Lands Center, a non-profit private organization that administers agricultural resource conservation programs and projects.  Ms. Holum's government posts include the Director of Congressional Liaison for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during President Carter's administration and Congressional Liaison Officer for the National Agricultural Lands Study.

Ms. Holum was raised in Boelus, Nebraska.  She attended the University of Nebraska and the University of Denver.  Ms. Holum and her husband, John, reside in Annapolis, Maryland.


David D. Spears, Commissioner

David D. Spears was sworn in as a Commissioner of the CFTC on September 1, 1996.  Mr. Spears was nominated by President Clinton on May 3, 1996, and confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 1996, for a term expiring in April 2000.  He served as Acting Chairman of the CFTC from June 2, 1999, to August 11, 1999.  Commissioner Spears chaired the CFTC’s Financial Products Advisory Committee and currently chairs the CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee.

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Mr. Spears received his B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University in 1979. After graduating from college, he joined the lending division of the Wichita Bank for Cooperatives, which finances agricultural cooperatives and agribusiness in the four-state region of Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.  From 1979 to 1989, Commissioner Spears worked at the bank (later "Cobank") as, among other positions, Assistant Vice President, responsible for supervising the delivery of financial services and products to Cobank's customers.  During this period, Commissioner Spears also served on various bank management, advisory and loan committees.

During the seven years prior to joining the CFTC, Commissioner Spears held several senior staff positions with the office of U.S. Senator Bob Dole. Starting in 1989, he was a legislative assistant to the Senator in Washington, D.C., specializing in agriculture, credit and trade issues.  In this regard, Commissioner Spears had primary responsibility for advising Senator Dole on agriculture and agricultural trade policy, including the 1990 Farm Bill and other credit and trade legislation.

From July 1992 through June 1996, Commissioner Spears served as State Director for Senator Dole in Wichita, Kansas.  In this capacity, he represented the Senator at events and forums throughout the state and managed the Senator's staff in offices located in Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita.

Mr. Spears and his wife, Pam, have two children.


James E. Newsome, Commissioner

James E. Newsome was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 31, 1998, to be a Commissioner of the CFTC.  He was sworn in on August 10, 1998, to a term expiring in June 2001.  Commissioner Newsome currently serves as Vice Chairman of the CFTC Technology Advisory Committee.

Prior to joining the CFTC, Mr. Newsome served nine years as Executive Vice President of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association and Beef Council.  Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Mississippi Agribusiness Council, which is devoted to the development of domestic and international agribusiness opportunities within the state of Mississippi.  Mr. Newsome was an instructor in the Animal Science Department at Mississippi State University, where he taught classes in livestock selection and management from 1986-1989.

His involvement in agriculture led to his association with numerous organizations in both Mississippi and his home state of Florida. Mr. Newsome has served as President of the Association of Mississippi Agriculture Organizations; on the Governor’s Task Force on the Future of Mississippi Agriculture and the Governor’s Task Force on the Future of Florida’s Small Farms; as a Mississippi Delegate to the National Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching; as President of the Florida Future Farmers of America; and as President of the University of Florida Agriculture Council.

A native of Plant City, Florida, Mr. Newsome received his B.S. degree in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida in 1982 and his M.S. degree in Agriculture from Mississippi State University in 1985.  He is married to the former Mary Margaret Pomeroy of Carmel Valley, California, and they have two daughters.


Thomas J. Erickson, Commissioner

Thomas J. Erickson was sworn in as a Commissioner on June 21, 1999.  He was nominated by President Clinton on February 5, 1999, and confirmed by the Senate on June 17, 1999, to a term expiring April 2003.

Mr. Erickson first joined the Commission in September 1997 as the Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, after serving as Assistant to the President/Legal Counsel for the National Grain Trade Council.  At the Council, he represented the grain trade and futures markets on matters of agricultural policy, futures trading, international trade, grain quality, and tax issues.  Previously, he served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Thomas A. Daschle.

A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Mr. Erickson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and International Affairs from Augustana College in 1984 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1987.  He is a member of the State Bar of South Dakota and of the District of Columbia Bar.

Mr. Erickson is married to Nancy Erickson of Brandon, South Dakota, and they have two children, son Patrick and daughter Drew.  The family resides in Washington, D.C.