Albright gets nod for U.S. energy post

Rock Hill native

The phone rang at 11:20 p.m. Friday in Sophie Albright's home on Sumter Avenue.

A call so late normally might be cause for concern, but this one brought long-awaited good news: Bud Albright was calling to tell his mother he'd just been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

A unanimous vote handed Albright, a Rock Hill native, the No. 3 post at the U.S. Department of Energy. President Bush nominated him for the job earlier this summer.

"I had gone to bed, but I hadn't gone to sleep," said Sophie Albright, 94. "He called me as soon as he heard. I was so thankful. I know he'll be good for the country."

Bud Albright, 57, is the son of former Rock Hill Mayor C.H. "Icky" Albright and the younger brother of longtime real estate manager Ned Albright.

The Energy Department is a long way from the house on Gladstone Street in Rock Hill where Albright grew up, but the latest step in an ascension through the Washington, D.C., ranks.

Before his nomination, Albright was Republican staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Even Democrats lauded his qualifications for the new role.

"Mr. Albright has served the committee with distinction," said U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the committee. "He has been a friend to all of us, he has been a wise counselor, he will be an extraordinarily fine public servant when he moves to the Department of Energy. He will be missed here."

Growing up in Rock Hill

Bud Albright could have followed his big brother into real estate but instead chose law school. He joined the Energy and Commerce Committee in March 2004, coming from a post as vice president for federal affairs at Reliant Energy's Washington office.

"To be a small-town Southern boy, I think he's done real well," Ned Albright said . "He's worked hard for it. I feel like I kind of halfway raised him. When I was at Clemson, I used to have him come over at Christmas vacation, and we'd go hunting. (I was) almost like an uncle more than a brother."

Bud Albright, his wife, Ginger, and their two children live in McLean, Va. Albright was unavailable for questions Saturday because he was busy attending all-day hearings on Capitol Hill.

"Buddy's always had politics in his blood," said Toy Rhea, a close family friend. "He's always just been so personable. Very much a people person. I'm just real happy for him."