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Wis. DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to join Biden administration

Posted at 6:02 AM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 13:25:47-05

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm has been named as a deputy secretary in President-elect Joe Biden's administration.

Palm was named as deputy secretary for the Health and Human Services department, the administration announced on Monday.

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Palm will work under Xavier Becerra, who was named by Biden as HHS secretary back in December.

“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 Gov. Tony Evers in a press release. “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.”

Before being named secretary-designee for Wisconsin's DHS, Palm was senior counselor to HHS Secretary during the Obama Administration.

Palm was nominated by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to serve as secretary for DHS in 2019. Palm's confirmation has been blocked by the state senate. Evers and Palm have come under fire through various lawsuits for previous Stay at Home orders and mask mandates.

Monday, Evers toured a new vaccination clinic in Green Bay and spoke highly of Palm's work over the last two years.

"Andrea Palm did an outstanding job for us as the Secretary of Health Services in Wisconsin," Evers said. "She's the consummate public servant and has always worked hard for people in healthcare. She will be a great addition to the Biden Administration. We hate to lose her because she's done an outstanding job for us. I always felt very confident in her work."

Palm will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves. These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward," said Biden in a statement regarding his selection of key administration posts.

Palm will be leaving DHS on Jan. 20, Evers announced Monday morning.

Karen Timberlake was named as interim DHS secretary.

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“Karen Timberlake brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in public health, healthcare, and healthcare systems that will be critical as we continue distributing vaccines quickly in our fight against this virus,” Evers said. “Our response to this pandemic and our vaccine distribution program will continue under the leadership of Karen and given her expertise and familiarity with the Department, I have no doubts she will be able to hit the ground running.”

Timberlake will start on Jan. 25.

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