Wolf, Levine Release Statements After Senate Confirmation

HARRISBURG – Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed in the Senate Wednesday evening as President Joe Biden’s assistant secretary of health. With that confirmation, Dr. Levine becomes the first openly transgender federal official.

In a statement, Dr. Levine expressed gratitude to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for the nomination. Dr. Levine also took the majority of her statement to address members of the LGBTQ community thanking them for their support. She says she’s honored to be the first openly transgender federal official, but is ‘heartened by the knowledge’ she won’t be the last.

Governor Tom Wolf also expressed his congratulations, called Dr. Levine ‘a valued member’ of his administration. See their full statements below.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) voted for Dr. Levine’s confirmation, but U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) voted no.

 

Governor Tom Wolf full statement: 

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Rachel Levine on her confirmation by the United States Senate.

“Dr. Levine was a valued member of my administration and served the people of Pennsylvania with wisdom, courage and dedication as Physician General and Secretary of Health. I was proud to serve alongside her. Dr. Levine’s commitment to protecting the public health and safety is unmatched, and I am grateful for her tireless work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pennsylvania owes a great deal to Dr. Levine’s expertise and leadership, both before and after the pandemic. The nation is lucky to have her strength, experience and compassion in such a key role in the Biden Administration.”

Dr. Rachel Levine full statement: 

“I am honored that the U.S. Senate has voted in favor of my nomination to be Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. I am grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris for nominating me to this important post. I look forward to working under the leadership of Secretary Becerra and ensuring that we promote policies that advance the health and wellbeing of all Americans.

 

“As I prepare to take my oath of office and begin serving as Assistant Secretary for Health, I would like to take this opportunity to address members of the LGBTQ community. First, thank you. Only through your work and advocacy over many decades is my story possible. I am humbled to be the first transgender individual to serve in a Senate-confirmed position. As Vice President Harris has said, I recognize that I may be the first, but am heartened by the knowledge that I will not be the last. When I assume this position, I will stand on the shoulders of those who came before- people we know throughout history and those whose names we will never know because they were forced to live and work in the shadows.

 

“In particular, I want to address transgender youth. I know that each and every day you confront many difficult challenges. Sadly, some of the challenges you face are from people who would seek to use your identity and circumstance as a weapon. It hurts. I know.. I cannot promise you that these attacks will immediately cease, but I will do everything I can to support you and advocate for you. President Obama often reminded us that not all progress goes in a straight line. What I can tell you is that there is a place for you in America and in our government.. Our ‘more perfect union’ includes you, too.”

 

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