Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday he will appoint an attorney and former member of his administration to a soon-to-be vacant spot on the powerful State Corporation Commission.
Northam said he plans to name Angela Navarro to the post in early January. The announcement came after the U.S. Senate earlier this week confirmed current Commissioner Mark Christie's nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission is an independent branch of state government with a wide range of responsibilities, including the regulation of public utilities, insurance and railroads. Three commissioners oversee the work of hundreds of staff.
State code allows the governor to temporarily fill a vacancy if the General Assembly is not in session and says lawmakers “shall elect a successor." Northam indicated he had been in touch with members of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly about the selection of Navarro, who left her post as deputy secretary of commerce and trade in September to start a law and consulting business.
Navarro, who earned a law degree from Georgetown University, also previously served as deputy secretary of natural resources under Northam and former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Before working in state government, she was a staff attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, where she focused on energy issues.
“I'm honored to be considered for such an important position,” she said in an interview Wednesday.
SCC spokesman Ken Schrad said Christie plans to stay in his current role until he's sworn in as a member of FERC, which is expected to take place in early January.