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Statement in Support of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services

Mr. President I rise today in support of our nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. I have known Governor Sebelius for over 20 years and believe that she is an excellent nominee who brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to the position at a time when we need it most. 

As our country, and the world, battles a very serious outbreak of the Swine Flu, we need Governor Sebelius’ leadership now. Over a hundred deaths have been reported in Mexico, and Americans in five states have been infected.  It’s urgent that we have a leader in place to respond to this threat so that as a nation, we can respond with swift action.  

Governor Sebelius is that person. She recognizes the need to work with experts and scientists on a global scale to make key public health decisions. And our citizens need and deserve to know that our government is doing everything it possibly can to protect the public and to control this outbreak. We simply can’t afford to delay action in filling this important Cabinet post.

As we embark on national health care reform, we need a leader who appreciates the importance of health care security to everyday people. Governor Sebelius is a common sense leader who understands the complexities of our health care system.  Through her experience as the Governor of Kansas, State Insurance Commissioner and President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, she has a broad and deep understanding of health care and will be an outstanding leader as we work to fix our broken system. Governor Sebelius has worked tirelessly to improve the quality and affordability of health care for the people of Kansas, and will do the same for all Americans.

As a former Governor, I understand the pressures of balancing a budget and working across party lines to get things done, and I commend Governor Sebelius for her track record of success.  Upon taking office, she faced a projected $1 billion in projected deficits and implemented a top-to-bottom audit of state government that produced significant savings and efficiencies.   Under her leadership, Governor Sebelius expanded health coverage for children and worked to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. And working across the aisle, she was able to reorganize state health care programs to make health care more affordable by creating  an independent state agency to control spending on health care and simplify the process of obtaining health care for her constituents. Undoubtedly, Governor Sebelius brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership experience that will be critical in her new role as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting nominee Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  She is the right choice at a time when we desperately need leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services.