Former deputy secretary in Ky. is Arkansas human services chief

Kristi Putnam, who was deputy secretary of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services during the administration of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, has been named secretary of the Arkansas Department of Human Services by Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“Kristi and I share a vision for bold reforms that support our neighbors in need, care for our most vulnerable, protect children in foster care, and ensure Arkansans are not trapped in a lifetime of poverty,” said Sanders, who was White House press secretary for Donald Trump and is the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Putnam, 51, said in the same news release, “We will protect our fellow citizens while prioritizing reforms and identifying efficiencies and taxpayer savings, which is what I have done throughout my career.” In Kentucky, Putnam “oversaw cross-cabinet reforms in health policy, human-services delivery system design, workforce strategies, and child-welfare improvements while leading an organization with more than 8,000 employees and a budget exceeding $14 billion,” the release says.

She was most recently chief personnel officer for AppHarvest, the agritech startup with huge vegetable greenhouses in Kentucky. Before that, “She co-founded Connecting the Dots Policy Solutions, which provided policy guidance for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Kentucky House of Representatives, the State of Arkansas and several other health plans,” the release says.

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