Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation’s assistant secretary of health. She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

In her new role, Levine will run the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH), which oversees the nation’s public health policy.

The final vote was 52-48.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joined all Democrats in supporting Levine.

Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images Rachel Levine, then physician general for the state of Pennsylvania, dines with her mother Lillian Levine in 2016, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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.

 

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