NC Senate announces confirmation hearings for Gov. Coopers cabinet nominations

The Select Senate Committee on Nominations outlined the process for confirmations, lays out six week schedule

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Senator Bill Rabon

RALEIGH — While no votes have been held in the General Assembly this week, the N.C. Senate did hold the session’s first committee meeting Tuesday to discuss the forthcoming process for Senate confirmation of Gov. Roy Cooper’s picks to head various state agencies.The Select Committee on Nominations unveiled it’s framework and schedule for providing advice and consent on the governor’s nominations.”What we’re doing here today, ladies and gentlemen, is what we expect to do in coming weeks, and specifically what the Senate process will look like for the upcoming nominations,” said committee chair Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Southport). “Our goal is to have a transparent and fair process so the governor’s nominees are thoroughly considered. We will focus primarily on determining if the specific candidate is capable and qualified, insuring that the candidate has no conflict of interest, and insuring that the candidate will follow the law.”Rabon explained to the committee that each nomination is being referred to relevant standing committees “best suited to consider the candidate.”Those committees will invite the candidate to give testimony and answer questions from committee members. From there the committee will make a recommendation back to the nominations committee which will vote to pass the recommendation to the floor of the N.C. Senate for a confirmation vote.The process is expected to take approximately six weeks, commencing in the first week of February, and hearings have already been scheduled for eight of Cooper’s appointments. Cooper has yet to appoint leaders of the Department of Information Technology and Department of Revenue.Co-chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Union) announced the scheduled hearings, listed below, and clarified that the listed candidates are currently in “acting positions or interim positions.”Moreover, Rabon informed the committee that the candidates have not yet been made official, despite the public announcements from Cooper. “We assume them to be nominees,” said Rabon. “[The governor] has made those nominations, or suggestions publicly, but he has not made them formally to the president pro tem’s office or to us as of yet.”The schedule of committee hearings is as follows:Feb. 8 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Larry Hall (No committee announced)Feb.14 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration, Machelle Sanders (Senate Committee on State and Local Government)Feb.16 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Susi Hamilton (Senate Committee on Agricultural, Economic and Natural Resources)Feb.21 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Erik Hooks (Senate Judiciary Committee)Feb.23 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce, Tony Copeland (Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance)March 1 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, Jim Trogdon (Senate Committee on Transportation)March 8 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Michael Regan (Senate Committee on Agricultural, Economic and Natural Resources)March 16 – Nominee for Secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen (Senate Committee on Healthcare)