March 2, 2009
AFT Media Affairs
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On President Obama's Nomination of Gov. Sebelius for HHS Secretary
WASHINGTON-The American Federation of Teachers, whose more than 1.4 million members include public employees, healthcare workers and early childhood educators, applauds the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The AFT has worked closely with Gov. Sebelius in Kansas, during her tenure as head of the Education Commission of the States, and as chair of the Democratic Governors Association. In Kansas, she created an unprecedented partnership with state employee unions, including the AFT, which led to a restructured state collective bargaining system emphasizing collaboration and results. Similarly, in developing and implementing education policies, she placed a premium on working with educators and other stakeholders.
As Health and Human Services Secretary, Gov. Sebelius will be a leader in efforts to reform America's healthcare system-the success of which is vital to all Americans, especially the most disadvantaged. She also will have the important job of overseeing early childhood education programs such as Head Start-a program that has never been more important and whose expansion could not be more timely.
Gov. Sebelius was a recent addition to the advisory board of the AFT Innovation Fund. While we will miss her in that capacity, we look forward to continuing to work with her as HHS Secretary after what we hope will be a swift confirmation.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.