Within the next few weeks, the U.S. Senate will consider a nomination that could have deep impact on West Virginia and Indiana businesses and their employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is one of those Washington, D.C. agencies that could, through overregulation and interference, disrupt American business and put jobs in danger.

We have seen far too often in West Virginia and Indiana how unelected bureaucrats have hindered advancement and progress through their policy overreaches in pursuit of an agenda that dismisses the contribution states like ours have made to our economy.

The nomination of Kalpana Kotagal to be a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a significant one. Her appointment would shift the balance of the five-member EEOC from its current makeup to one that would stifle economic growth, especially on the fossil fuel industry.

It is sobering to think about what one vote could do on the EEOC. It is also important to remember what one vote could do in the U.S. Senate as well. Her nomination was deadlocked in committee, and thus would require every Democrat, in addition to the vice president, to advance the nomination.

One Democrat voicing opposition would keep her from advancing and changing the makeup of the EEOC.

This is important because Ms. Kotagal has made it clear what she stands for: litigation over arbitration, and a strong dislike for fossil fuels as an energy source.

Ms. Kotogal has allied herself with a group, for example, that wants to “retire coal-fired power plants, oil-based transportation systems and other fossil fuel infrastructure.”

She has said that “the connection between addressing climate change and adapting to its effects and furthering social justice and equity is a crucial one.” For West Virginians and Hoosiers, we know what the impact of these social experiments are: lost jobs, with no plan to replace them.

An EEOC under the majority that would exist, if Ms. Kotogal is confirmed, would be one of more intrusion and litigation and less transparency and accountability. With Ms. Kotogal at the EEOC, we would have another federal agency whose mission would be to advance an agenda at the expense of those they are chartered to help.

Ms. Kotogal has tried to downplay her beliefs on fossil fuel and her activist positions. But there is not much left unclear when she says, “the connection between addressing climate change and adapting to its effects and furthering social justice and equity is a crucial one.”

Her beliefs represent a stronger bureaucratic state, less transparent and responsive to the American people outside of the trial bar, all the while pursuing an agenda that adheres to the principles of the Green New Deal. As we have far too often seen in this administration, this is the wrong deal for West Virginia and Indiana.

We will be voting to oppose her nomination to this post and call on anyone who advocates for a fair playing field for American businesses and their workers to do the same.


Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito represents the state of West Virginia. Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Braun represents the state of Indiana.