Senate approves first transgender woman for federal office

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Senate approves first transgender woman for federal office

Rachel Levine is expected to oversee Ministry of Health programs

The Senate has confirmed the former head of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Rachel Levin, as Assistant Secretary of Health for the United States.

She became the first federal official to be openly transgendered by the Senate.

Her candidacy was approved with 52 votes in favor and 48 against. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined all Democrats in supporting Levin.

Levine has headed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health since 2017 and has become a public figure in the state in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. She is expected to oversee Department of Health offices and programs throughout the United States.

President Joe Biden cited Levine’s experience when he nominated it in January.

Transgender rights activists also hailed Levin’s appointment as a historic breakthrough. Few transgender people have ever held senior federal or state positions.

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