HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam will resign from her position, and that he’ll appoint Department of Health Executive Deputy Secretary Keara Klinepeter to the role.
“I am proud to have worked with Acting Secretary Beam over the past several years, and the commonwealth has been fortunate to have had the benefit of her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic – especially as the Department of Health oversaw a massive vaccine roll-out over the course of the past year,” Gov. Wolf said. “Thank you, Acting Secretary Beam, for stepping up to serve the commonwealth during a difficult time. We will miss your leadership, your determination, and your dedication to building healthier communities for all Pennsylvanians.”
Prior to Acting Secretary, Beam worked as Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Wolf. Wolf says she helped coordinate the administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response, the rollout of Pa.’s health insurance marketplace, the Reach Out PA campaign, and the administration’s healthcare reform plan.
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“Thank you to Governor Wolf, his leadership team, and the incredibly dedicated Department of Health employees,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “Serving as Acting Secretary during such a critical time in public health has been the most humbling honor of my career. Under the governor’s leadership the administration has made critical strides in ensuring access to health care for all Pennsylvanians and in turn created a healthier, more equitable Commonwealth for generations to come. I could not be prouder to have worked alongside such devoted public servants during my tenure with the Wolf Administration.”
Beam replaced Rachel Levine, as Pa.’s health secretary when Levine left for the Biden administration. Klinepeter will take over after Beam leaves at the end of the year.
Initially, legislators praised Beam for her working with them. But the relationship became more tenuous when Beam instituted a school mask mandate in August. Lawmakers sued and won, and just last week, the state supreme agree that she did not have the authority to issue such a mandate in the way she did.
Klimpeter said in a statement that she is ready to ensure public health at an, especially, critical time.
“Thank you to Gov. Wolf and Acting Secretary Beam for their steadfast leadership, especially during this trying time for all Pennsylvanians,” Executive Deputy Secretary Klinepeter said. “I am honored for the opportunity to lead public health efforts during this critical time and to serve my fellow Pennsylvanians.”