Jeramey Jannene

State Losing Top Health Official To Biden Administration

Andrea Palm named deputy secretary of Department of Health and Human Services.

By - Jan 18th, 2021 08:41 am
Andrea Palm during a May 2020 DHS COVID-19 briefing.

Andrea Palm during a May 2020 DHS COVID-19 briefing.

Andrea Palm is going back to Washington D.C.

The head of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is being nominated by President-election Joe Biden to serve as deputy secretary of the US Department of Health Services.

She previously served in a series of roles in the federal department when Biden was vice president, including as assistant secretary of legislation and chief of staff.

Palm was appointed to lead the Wisconsin department in January 2019 by Governor Tony Evers. Her last day on the job is Wednesday.

“Andrea Palm is a public servant through and through—she’s been a critical part of our administration and a consummate professional who has done an extraordinary job helping lead our state during an unprecedented public health crisis,” said Evers in a statement. “I know she will continue to serve our country just as she has our state—with empathy, kindness, and tenacity. I wish her our very best as she leaves us to take this new opportunity.”

Her new post will require US Senate confirmation. She’s never been confirmed by the Republican-controlled State Senate, leaving her and other Evers’ appointees, with the Secretary-designee title. Palm repeatedly drew the ire of Senate Republicans once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, with multiple members calling for her to be fired.

The Washington Post was the first to report on the Palm news, part of the organization’s coverage of Biden’s appointment of five women to serve in deputy roles.

Palm will manage the day-to-day operations of the department while Xavier Becerra, the California Attorney General, is slated to serve as the secretary.

Evers announced Karen Timberlake will serve as interim secretary of the Wisconsin department.

Timberlake formerly led the department from 2008 to 2009 under Governor Jim Doyle. She was deputy secretary from 2007 to 2008. She was most recently a partner at Michae Best Strategies and previously held multiple roles at the University of Wisconsin.

Julie Willems Van Dijk currently serves as DHS deputy secretary.

Palm is the third secretary Evers has lost since the pandemic began. Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney took a job with a foundation in the past month. Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman was asked to resign as a result of a backlog of unprocessed unemployment claims.

Categories: Health, Politics, Weekly

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