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Reynolds selects Texas human services official to lead Iowa DHS


Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday that she will appoint Kelly Kennedy Garcia, currently deputy executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, as director of the Iowa Department of Human Services. Garcia will be relocating from Austin, Texas, and begins her new role on Nov. 1. Iowa DHS been led by Interim Director Gerd Clabaugh since the departure in June of Jerry Foxhoven, who is now suing Reynolds, claiming wrongful termination. Garcia currently oversees the Health, Developmental and Independence Services department in Texas, which spans more than 40 client service programs and support functions with more than 700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget. She has served in a number of other senior-level human services roles, including deputy chief for the Office of Programs and Services, which includes oversight of Medicaid, eligibility operations, behavioral and mental health. She has a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in public service and administration from Texas A&M University. Garcia’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate.

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