INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Davis May Appoint Judge As Quackenbush’s Successor
While the office of Gov. Gray Davis (D) would not comment on Davis' imminent appointment of a permanent replacement for Chuck Quackenbush as state insurance commissioner, sources familiar with the selection process told the Los Angeles Times that a retired appellate court justice has emerged as the leading candidate. According to these sources, the governor is "seriously considering" retired Court of Appeal Justice Harry Low, who has a long and distinguished career in administrations of both Democrats and Republicans. Any nominee for the insurance commissioner position, which is being temporarily filled by Clark Kelso, would have to be confirmed by the Legislature. Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) said that if Low was indeed Davis' choice, Davis would have no trouble winning the Legislature's approval. Burton said, "Harry is a guy who is beyond reproach ... It is certainly a safe, quality appointment. He is not going to be in the industry's pocket." But others, such as Harvey Rosenfield, a consumer activist who won a 1988 battle to make the insurance commissioner position an elective office, called the potential appointment of Low "disappointing" because the former judge lacks "experience dealing with insurance companies and public policy." Davis has indicated that he will formally announce his choice next week and would like to return the insurance commissioner job to an appointed post (Morian, 7/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.