Gov. Hobbs withdraws nominees, says GOP-led committee designed to ‘slow walk’ picks

The governor’s office blames state Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman for forcing the decision, saying he created a partisan process “designed to slow walk nominees.”
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 1:32 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Governor Katie Hobbs’ office announced Monday afternoon that she is withdrawing 13 of her cabinet nominees picked to be directors of key Arizona agencies. Instead, she will have them serve as “executive deputy directors” of the agencies they were nominated for. The governor’s office blames state Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman for forcing the decision, saying in a press release that he created a partisan process “designed to slow walk nominees.”

“Extremist Jake Hoffman is more interested in using his committee to pursue his radical political agenda than give a fair hearing to Governor Hobbs’ cabinet nominees,” Hobbs communications director Christian Slater said in a written statement. He goes on to say that Hobbs has been working “in good faith” with the Senate’s Committee on Director Appointments, which was appointed by the GOP-controlled Senate back in February, but that Hoffman has refused to review the governor’s nominees fairly and in a timely manner. The GOP-led committee has rejected or held five of Hobbs’ picks while approving a handful of others. “It’s time to put an end to the political circus that puts Hoffman’s radical agenda first at the expense of everyday Arizonans,” Slater said.

Gov. Hobbs is demanding changes to the confirmation process but Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen said that’s not going to happen. Hobbs’ chief of staff Chand Campbell said the panel has not given most of her agency picks a fair shot and that everyday Arizonans are now at risk because of Hoffman’s “radical agenda.” He added the administration has talked to Senate leadership many times about this issue prior to making this announcement.

Petersen said the committee stands by the decisions it has made, saying nominees Hobbs is presenting nominees who are not fitting or qualified. “I told the governor from the start, if they are competent and not super partisan, then we won’t have a problem. But if they are not competent or hyper-partisan, then they will have a hard time getting confirmed,” he said. The governor’s office disagrees. “All you have to do is look at the nominees. The governor has put forth, and they speak for themselves the experience and the support they’ve had from all walks of life and from all political persuasion so that argument just doesn’t hold any water,” said Campbell.

Hoffman, who was part of Arizona’s fake electors scheme, has previously stated that he would fight what he called Hobbs’ “woke agenda” and threatened to sue over the governor’s use of executive orders. The committee he leads is occupied by two other Republicans — Vice Chair Sine Kerr from Buckeye and Sen. T.J. Shope from Coolidge — and two Democrats — Sen. Lela Alston from Phoenix and Sen. Eva Burch from Mesa.

In a statement made on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, House Rep. Austin Smith with the House’s Arizona Freedom Caucus, blames the governor.

Hobbs has withdrawn and reassigned the following nominees:

  • Elizabeth Thorson, Arizona Department of Administration
  • Angie Rodgers, Arizona Department of Economic Security
  • Karen Peters, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Carmen Heredia, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
  • David Lujan, Arizona Department of Child Safety
  • Jackie Johnson, Arizona Department of Gaming
  • Joan Serviss, Arizona Department of Housing
  • Barbara Richardson, Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions
  • Lt. Col Dana Allmond, Arizona Department of Veterans Services
  • Alec Esteban Thomson, Arizona State Lottery
  • Cynthia Zwick, Residential Utility Consumer Office
  • Lisa Urias, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Robyn Sahid, Arizona State Land Department

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