Senate committee approves DES director nominee, rejects AZDHS nominee

A Senate committee approved Gov. Katie Hobbs' nominee for Arizona Department of Economic Security director despite GOP concerns.
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 6:11 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Gov. Katie Hobbs’ pick to run one of the state’s largest departments cleared her first hurdle on Thursday, but another high-profile one failed. The Republican-led Senate Committee on Director Nominations approved Angie Rodgers, the former CEO of Arizona Food Bank Network, to lead the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Rodgers must now get the recommendation of the Senate to remain in the job. If she doesn’t get a vote from the full Senate, Rodgers can stay in the post for a year before leaving.

On Thursday evening, the same committee rejected Theresa Cullen as the new director of the Arizona Department of Health Services in a 3-2 vote along party lines. She is the director of the Pima County Public Health Department. Her nomination was expected to be more contentious because of her response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hobbs expressed her disappointment on Twitter.

As for Rodgers, she would have to leave immediately if she fails to clear the upper chamber. Thursday was the first meeting for the newly-created committee, led by Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman, a harsh critic of the governor who has vowed to oppose the governor’s agenda. After nearly an hour, Rogers got the committee’s full recommendation, despite some concerns raised by Chairman Hoffman over how she’d work with the federal government. “I will be supporting your nomimation today and voting aye to recommend the full Senate confirm you but I will be flagging these concerns for the Senate president and members of the Senate,” he said.

The five-member panel - two Democrats and three Republicans - was also scheduled to review one more of the governor’s other nominees that still need full Senate confirmation. That would be nominee Karen Peters, who was tapped to run the Department of Environmental Quality.