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Politics

Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore’s cabinet nominations include Bronze Star veteran once kicked out of Army for being openly gay

Gov.-elect Wes Moore announced nominations Thursday for six cabinet positions, including fellow Army veterans as heads of the state health and veterans affairs departments and a former Microsoft executive with experience in the Obama administration as labor secretary.

Moore is choosing his appointees as he prepares for his inauguration Wednesday in Annapolis.

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Tony Woods, a West Point graduate and former Army lieutenant nominated to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, was discharged from the Army in 2008 under a previous policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which kicked openly gay people out of the armed forces. He resumed his military service after the policy was repealed in 2011 and received a Bronze Star after serving two tours of duty in Iraq.

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Woods is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and an intelligence analyst for the joint staff at the Pentagon. He’s also executive director of the Quad Fellowship, a program that sponsors graduate and doctoral students from the U.S., Japan, Australia and India who are studying science, technology, engineering and math.

Moore nominated Army Reserves veteran and physician Dr. Laura Herrera Scott to return to the Maryland Department of Health as its leader. She served as the deputy secretary of public health services from 2011 to 2015 during the administration of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley. More recently, she was executive vice president of population health for the Summit Health network, which operates in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and central Oregon.

As labor secretary, Moore nominated Portia Wu, former assistant secretary for employment and training at the U.S. Department of Labor. She served as a special assistant and senior policy adviser under then-President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014. Wu was also managing director of U.S. public policy at Microsoft.

Moore nominated the current state health department’s deputy secretary of operations, Atif Chaudry, to head the Department of General Services. Chaudry oversaw multiple areas for the health department during the COVID-19 pandemic, including its Office of Preparedness and Response. He’s worked at that agency since 2004.

Rafael López is Moore’s choice to lead the Department of Human Services. He was confirmed as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration. He later worked for Accenture, a global consulting giant.

The pick for juvenile services secretary is Vincent Schiraldi, a senior research scientist at the Columbia School of Social Work. He co-directed the Columbia Justice Lab, working to establish developmentally appropriate responses for children involved in the criminal justice system.

Moore’s nominations will go to the state Senate for confirmation.


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