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Youngkin announces his pick for Virginia health secretary

FILE - Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin listens as Gov. Ralph Northam delivers his annual budget forecast to a joint session of the House and Senate budget committees at the Capitol, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Richmond, Va. Youngkin, who made education a centerpiece of his campaign, announced the state's next education secretary Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, making it his first Cabinet secretary pick. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. – Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin has announced his pick for Virginia’s next secretary of health and human resources, a role that will involve helping oversee pandemic-related public policy.

John Littel has been tapped for the role, the transition announced Monday.

Littel recently served as the president of Magellan of Virginia, which administers behavioral health services for Virginia Medicaid enrollees.

He’s also worked in federal and state government, including as Virginia’s deputy secretary of health and human resources.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on Virginians across the Commonwealth, and John will play a pivotal role in overseeing our efforts in protecting Virginians’ lives and livelihoods. Starting on Day One, John’s experience will be an asset as we fix our broken mental and behavioral health system, ensure Virginians have access to affordable, free-market healthcare options, and reform our healthcare safety net to save taxpayer dollars and improve healthcare outcomes,” Youngkin said in a statement.

Youngkin, who will be sworn in Saturday, has promised a change in direction with regard to COVID-19. He does not support vaccine or mask mandates, though he has advocated for Virginians to get vaccinated and receive boosters as appropriate.

His cabinet picks are subject to legislative approval.