Andrea Palm, the state Department of Health Services secretary-designee, is leaving Wisconsin to join the Biden administration as its number two person in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Stepping into Palm’s role, as interim secretary beginning Jan. 25, will be Karen Timberlake, who was DHS secretary under former Gov. Jim Doyle. Timberlake served in this role during the H1N1 pandemic virus outbreak.

“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. “I know she will continue to serve our country just as she has our state — with empathy, kindness and tenacity.

Under former President Barack Obama, Palm was chief of staff and senior counselor to the HHS secretary, working alongside Leslie Dach, who now chairs Protect Our Care and praised Biden’s pick.

“Andrea Palm … is kind, she is tough and she knows the issues,” said Dach. “In Wisconsin she did an extraordinary job combating the pandemic, respecting the science and the facts, protecting the public health and telling the truth to the people she served. I worked with Andrea every day I was at HHS, and she is a public servant through and through.”

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