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Obama Chooses Anti-Tobacco Advocate as HHS Deputy

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President-elect Barack Obama has selected William Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, to serve as deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the New York Times reported Jan 14.

Corr, who was a member of Obama’s transition team, served as chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration, and served as chief counsel and policy director for former Senate Democratic leader and HHS Secretary-nominee Tom Daschle in 1998.

Corr also worked for Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who was the chief sponsor of a bill granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco products — an issue the new Congress is expected to focus on. Increasing tobacco taxes and pushing for an international tobacco-control treaty also appear to be on the Obama administration’s agenda.

“Reforming our health-care system will be a top priority of my administration and key to putting our economy back on track,” Obama said. “Under the leadership of Tom Daschle and Bill Corr, I am confident that my Department of Health and Human Services will bring people together to reach consensus on how to move forward with health-care reform.”

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