State Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake is stepping down. Timberlake has headed DHS since January of 2021, when Governor Tony Evers appointed her to succeed Andrea Palm, who left to serve in the Biden administration. Like Palm, Timberlake served without ever having her nomination confirmed by the Republican controlled Wisconsin state Senate.

Evers announced Friday that Timberlake would leave the position January 2.

“Karen joined our administration at a critical time during the coronavirus pandemic, bringing with her a wealth of experience and expertise. We owe her our gratitude for returning to this role during an incredibly challenging time for our state, and there’s no question that she helped us save lives,” said Gov. Evers. “Even beyond her willingness to serve, Karen is an exceptional person who I’m proud to know and have been proud to have as part of my cabinet. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served alongside her. I want to extend my sincerest thanks to Karen for her service to our state, and I wish her and her family well in their next chapter.”

Timberlake also headed up DHS during former Governor Jim Doyle’s second term. And guided the agency through the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to thank Governor Evers for the opportunity to step back into this role. This has been an extraordinary time to be in public service,” said Secretary-designee Timberlake. “Thanks to Gov. Evers’ leadership and the creativity and dedicated efforts of our colleagues across the cabinet and throughout the agencies, Wisconsinites and communities are bouncing back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state’s future is full of potential waiting to be realized.”

Timberlake’s replacement will be announced in the coming weeks. 

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