Bush Nominates EPA Administrator Leavitt as New HHS Secretary
President Bush on Monday said that he will nominate Michael Leavitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and former Republican governor of Utah, to replace Tommy Thompson as secretary of HHS, Reuters reports (Reuters, 12/13). Bush said Leavitt is a "fine executive" and a "man of great compassion," adding, "He's an ideal choice to lead one of the largest [agencies] of the United States government."
Leavitt said, "I feel a real sense of understandable regret" about leaving EPA and noted that HHS plays a vital role in the lives of all U.S. residents (Sherman, Associated Press, 12/13). Leavitt added that he was "looking forward to implementing [Bush's] vision" at HHS, including the launch of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2006. Leavitt served as governor of Utah for 11 years before Bush appointed him as EPA administrator last year (USA Today, 12/13).