Senator vetting Hobbs’ nominees takes a new tactic with Arizona environmental department director

Karen Peters will head the state Department of Environmental Quality. || Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs’ Office

By Stacey Barchenger || The Arizona Republic

A Republican state senator who is a key gatekeeper in Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ effort to assemble her Cabinet is again at odds with the Governor’s Office, this time over answers he wants to questions that are rife with political undertones.

Sen. Jake Hoffman, a Queen Creek Republican who helms the Senate’s newly created committee to vet gubernatorial nominations, sent three pages of questions to Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Karen Peters on March 9.

The request, a copy of which was obtained by The Arizona Republic, includes 11 questions about environmental issues — including Peters’ opinion on climate change, compliance with federally set ozone standards, and mass transit as an effective way to reduce carbon emissions. He probes topics that are political lightning rods in Republican circles, such as California’s action to ban the sale of new gasoline-burning vehicles (the single largest source of carbon emissions in the state) by 2035.

The document provides a preview of the grilling ahead for Peters, who previously worked for Phoenix since 2005, most recently as a deputy city manager overseeing water services, public works, sustainability and environmental programs. Hobbs named Peters to lead the ADEQ in December, and she began work in February, but Peters must still receive approval via a majority vote in the state Senate.

Hoffman said the request was made to help the committee understand Peters’ views and how she would run the agency.

“We believe that having that robust conversation is not only fair to the nominee — giving her the opportunity to respond like this is fair to the nominee — but it’s also in the best interest of public debate, and the citizens that we all represent,” he said.


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March 2023