U.S. Senate confirms Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Health Secretary

Written by on March 25, 2021

U.S. Senate confirms Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Health Secretary

By Tyler Pratt & The Associated Press

March 25, 2021

Natalie Kolb / Commonwealth Media Services

The U.S. Senate on March 24 confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine to be the nation’s assistant secretary of health. 

She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. 

The final vote was 52 to 48, mostly along party lines. 

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) voted against her nomination.

Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania’s top health official since 2017, and emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

She is expected to oversee Health and Human Services offices and programs across the U.S. Transgender-rights activists have hailed Levine’s appointment as a historic breakthrough.

In a written statement, Adrian Shanker, executive director of the Lehigh Valley’s Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center called Levine’s nomination “momentous.” 

“Dr. Levine is less interested in making history and more interested in making a difference. Now, she can get to work to improve public health for the American people, ” Shanker says. 

Few trans people have ever held high-level offices at the federal or state level.

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