A former health care adviser to Mitt Romney has been named the new director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday that Cindy Gillespie would take over as DHS director beginning March 1. Gillespie worked for Romney when he served as Massachusetts governor and as a campaign fundraiser during his 2012 run for president. Gillespie also served on the nonprofit responsible for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Gillespie will take over for John Selig, who announced his resignation last fall. She'll oversee DHS as the Legislature considers the future of Arkansas' "private option" Medicaid expansion that has provided health insurance for more than 200,000 Arkansans.
In a written statement, Gov. Hutchinson said:
After a national search and after interviewing a number of top candidates, I am confident that Cindy Gillespie has the breadth of experience, management capabilities and the right ideas to lead Arkansas's largest agency. She has nationally recognized expertise in the reform of Medicaid and she has extensive experience in managing complex programs. Most importantly she has the heart and passion that is needed for an agency which is on the frontline of critical services that make a difference in the lives of Arkansans every day.
The governor's office also released a statement from Gillespie:
I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the impressive team Governor Hutchinson has brought together to serve the people of Arkansas. I am looking forward to working with the highly dedicated and capable employees at the Arkansas Department of Human Services, along with our partners throughout the state, to promote the health and well-being of all Arkansans, especially those most in need.