The reason Republicans set up a “confirmation” process for Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet choices was no mystery. The GOP leaders in charge of the General Assembly just wanted to make the governor jump through hoops for political sport. But in the end, as all Cabinet nominees were clearing the confirmation process, Cooper and North Carolina were the winners because the governor’s choices were superb.
Two who brought Republican senators around quickly were Michael Regan as secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality and Dr. Mandy Cohen as secretary of Health and Human Services. Both were spectacularly qualified and both were supported by senators, including Republicans.
Regan has worked in the Environmental Protection Agency and with the Environmental Defense Fund, but he made it clear he understood the balance between regulation and not hindering business unnecessarily. He’s taking an agency that was neglected under Gov. Pat McCrory.
Cohen, a physician, worked with federal health agencies including some connected to the Affordable Care Act. But she’s the holder of degrees from Yale and Harvard and with a grasp of what needs to be done at DHHS, which fell into disrepair under McCrory. For some reason, the confrontations expected didn’t materialize. Did Republican leaders decide the fight wasn’t worth it? More likely, nominees were so qualified they simply couldn’t be turned away.