Gov. Hobbs nominee for head of state prison system approved by Senate committee

Gov. Hobbs nominated Ryan Thornell to take over the Department of Corrections in late January.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:57 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gov. Katie Hobbs’ pick to run the state prison system on Tuesday cleared a major hurdle. Ryan Thornell, the former Deputy Commissioner of Corrections for Maine, received a unanimous thumbs-up from the five-person Senate Committee on Director Nominations.

To stay in the position, Thornell needs confirmation from the full 30-member state Senate, which appears likely given the ease of the committee hearing. No date for a confirmation vote has been set. The Legislature has been on an extended recess and will not be able to confirm Thornhill until they return to the Capitol next week at the earliest.

Getting her nominees through the nominating process has been a problem for Gov. Hobbs during her first five months in office. Since taking office in January, Arizona’s chief executive has nominated 22 people to lead key state agencies, with only three getting confirmed.

Installing department and agency leaders is critical to any governor’s job. Hobbs, a Democrat, has blamed Republicans for standing in the way. The Senate Committee on Director Nominations is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, where they will consider Hobbs’ choice to run the Arizona Department of Real Estate.

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