Kemp taps top deputy to nursing board that long feuded with him

Gov. Brian Kemp tapped one of his top deputies to a state nursing panel that has long feuded with the Republican.

The governor said Thursday that Candice Broce, his chief communications director and deputy executive counsel, is among two new members of the State Board of Nursing, which is charged with licensing and regulating the state’s nurses.

The nursing board fought for years with Kemp when he oversaw it as secretary of state. The board's members revolted in 2016 after he announced plans to replace the board's executive director without consulting the members. Under pressure, the move was never carried out.

Soon, the board was forcefully pushing to get out from under Kemp's office, following the lead of the state dental and pharmacy boards, which convinced lawmakers in 2013 to grant them independence. Kemp won that fight, and the board remains under the Secretary of State's purview.

At the time, the nurses voiced concerns that people who aren't experienced in healthcare were tasked to manage the high-stakes job of protecting patients. Among their chief complaints was the 283-day average time it took for the board to complete high-priority investigations.

Broce, then Kemp's chief spokeswoman, defended the office and said investigation times had improved. She is now one of Kemp's top deputies, and is one of his chief policy advisers on healthcare legal matters.

In a statement on Thursday, Broce said she was thankful for the opportunity to serve on the board as its sole “consumer member” -- the only of the 13 members who aren’t required to have a nursing background.

“I’ll be a strong voice for Georgia patients and families to ensure accountability and integrity in the nursing profession,” said Broce.

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