President Barack Obama recently nominated Gina McCarthy to be the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

McCarthy is a strong candidate and will be a leader on climate change. Throughout her career, she has shown an ability to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans, Democrats, industry leaders, automakers and public health advocates alike to develop pragmatic, cost-effective safeguards that protect public health and reduce carbon pollution.

Her confirmation seems like an obvious one, but Republicans in Congress are blocking the vote.

On May 9, Republican members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works epitomized the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., by boycotting McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA.

Their actions are not only petty, but they also place the health of millions of Americans in jeopardy. Throughout the two-month nomination process, McCarthy has answered more than 1,000 questions submitted by Republicans on the committee, and in 2009, she was confirmed swiftly by the Senate in a voice vote to lead the Clean Air Division of the EPA.

McCarthy deserves a swift confirmation by the Senate this time around as well. With her experience and qualifications, Senate Republicans should not deny the panel a quorum, so the committee can send the nomination to the Senate floor for a swift confirmation.

We need a strong leader like McCarthy at the Environmental Protection Agency. I urge Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to approve McCarthy’s nomination when they vote in the Senate.

Linda Woods

Oakland