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Texas human services official named new Iowa DHS director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Texas health and human services official has been named the new director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says Thursday she appointed Kelly Kennedy Garcia to head the department that oversees the state's Medicaid program, mental health centers and child welfare services.

Garcia is now the deputy executive commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She oversees programs with more than 700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget.

Iowa DHS has more than 4,000 employees and a $7 billion budget.

Garcia previously managed the Texas Medicaid program and once served as a senior adviser to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

She will begin Nov. 1. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate.

Former DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven was ousted from the job in June for reasons Reynolds has not fully disclosed. Foxhoven claims it was because he questioned a pay arrangement for a staff member he thought might be illegal. He's filed a $2 million wrongful termination claim.

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