Palmetto Sunrise: DHEC nominee Kitzman to face tough questions

Eleanor Kitzman

Department of Health and Environmental Control nominee Eleanor Kitzman is expected to face tough questions today as she seeks confirmation from the S.C. Senate.

Kitzman, a Texas native, has moved between government posts and the insurance industry. She previously served as the director of the Budget and Control Board under Gov. Nikki Haley, raised money for her in Texas and has contributed to her campaign.

Kitzman was also the state’s insurance commissioner under former Gov. Mark Sanford. She left under a cloud in 2007 after lawmakers questioned if she was doing enough to battle a dramatic spike in insurance rates along the coast.

Recently, senators stressed that they would give Kitzman a fair hearing despite what some view as a checkered professional history. What troubles Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, a respected voice on environmental issues, is Kitzman’s lack of medical or environmental experience and the way she was chosen for the job.

“I think it’s very questionable whether she’ll make it through the confirmation process,” Campsen said. “You should have a search process. There may be someone out there better that you’re just not aware of.”

Kitzman stressed in an interview with the Post and Courier’s Cynthia Roldan that she was ready for the job.

“I don’t have any preconceived notions of what I’m going to do,” said Kitzman, who has been working at the agency in a managerial position while awaiting the hearings. “I’m going to tell whoever what I think and what my recommendations are. There may be someone else who is the ultimate decision maker, but I’m going to do what I think is the right thing and I’m going to follow the law.”

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