Commissioner Gary Cox Leaving OSDH

Wednesday, May 13th 2020, 8:08 am


Governor Stitt needs to find a new State Commissioner of Health in the middle of a pandemic.

The Senate announced it would not confirm the current commissioner, Gary Cox, over qualification and management concerns. Cox will have his job until the end of the month, but he's already acknowledged that's when he will be leaving. 

Read Related: State Senate Will Not Confirm Public Health Director

Current commissioner Cox has dozens of years' experience and has already been handling Oklahoma's COVID-19 response. But senators News 9 spoke with said even with the years under his belt, Cox doesn't have a master's in science and there are concerns with an ongoing audit the state Attorney General's office requested. 

Governor Stitt said he's disappointed by the Senate's decision and he wants Oklahomans to ask "why".

"It's just the unfortunate part of this politics that my job as Governor is just to explain to Oklahomans what's going on," said Governor Sitt. "Its the senate's job and that's to confirm, and we live with the consequences."

In a letter to the Governor, Cox said he's "disheartened and saddened that a leader with over 50 years of service to the state" is deemed unqualified.

He also warned problems could come up if gaps are left in leadership during the fight against COVID-19.