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Rhoades named deputy secretary of DHS

Kitty Rhoades, who represented western Wisconsin's 30th District in the Assembly for 12 years, will be the new deputy secretary of the state's Department of Health Services, according to an announcement made Thursday afternoon.

During a noontime press conference with out-state reporters, Scott Walker, who will take office as Wisconsin governor next Monday, announced his cabinet nominees as well as others who will take leading roles in his administration.

Walker named Dennis Smith to lead the Department of Health Services. Smith has headed the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In naming his cabinet secretaries and "key deputies," Walker said he consulted with governors of other states and took their advice to announce the main appointments in one group rather than one at a time.

"They (the governors) all said to a person, take your time and put together a total team," said Walker.

Finding the right mix of people to lead state agencies is important in building synergy, said the governor-elect.

Rhoades, who didn't seek reelection this fall, is also on Walker's transition team.

She was first elected to the Assembly in 1998 and has served since then. A former educator, small business owner and Chamber of Commerce president, Rhoades served on the Assembly's Aging and Long Term Care Committee and its committee on health and healthcare reform. In 2007 she was co-chairwoman of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance.

The DHS administers a wide range of services to clients in the community and at state institutions, regulates certain care providers and supervises and consults with local public and volunteer agencies.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.