LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - The State Senate on Thursday voted 25-8 to confirm the appointment of Dr. Jose Romero as Arkansas Secretary of Health after a debate on the Senate floor.
Romero was appointed last year as interim secretary of health by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Later in August 2020, Gov. Hutchinson made the appointment official.
According to content partner KATV, Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) had requested the confirmation vote in front of the Senate Rules Committee.
“I have serious questions about Dr. Romero’s ability to lead the Department of Health, and until those questions are answered in a public forum by him or his staff, I will not vote for his confirmation,” Garner told KATV.
The committee met Thursday and the vote was taken by the full Senate.
During the debate Thursday, senators spoke for and against the confirmation.
Sen. Mark Johnson (R-Little Rock) said he believed senators should exercise more influence over the confirmation process with the issue being about the checks and balances system of government.
Meanwhile, Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) said she supported Romero’s confirmation and that he was needed in the job.
“Dr. Romero should be confirmed. And we are still in a pandemic,” Sen. Flowers said.
Region 8 News will have more information as it becomes available.