- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

RICHMOND (AP) Democratic Gov.-elect Mark R. Warner yesterday appointed the first openly Republican member of his Cabinet, nominating former state Sen. Jane Woods as his secretary of health and human resources.
"I'm still a Republican, and I am the Republican that I was in the General Assembly," Mrs. Woods said in an interview after a news conference with Mr. Warner.
Mrs. Woods established a reputation as a liberal Republican during eight years in the Senate and four years before that in the House of Delegates. She represented districts in Fairfax County.
Mrs. Woods also became known for her detailed knowledge of the state's health and welfare systems. Mr. Warner said he appointed her because of that record.
"This is someone I sought out. I wasn't lobbied by anybody to appoint her," Mr. Warner said.
The governor-elect conceded, however, that he and Mrs. Woods will have to cope with a budget shortfall of at least $1 billion this year and as much as $2 billion for the 2003-2004 budget cycle as they seek to implement the reforms they envision for the state's health care system.
Mr. Warner and Mrs. Woods promised to do a better job of signing up children to a federally funded health insurance program.
Virginia forfeited $16 million in federal matching funds for failing to make maximum use of the program in 1998, the first year the money was available, and could lose up to $40 million of the $68 million that was available in 1999, a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission analyst said last week.
"Together we will be out in the communities," Mrs. Woods said. "We will find folks who need this, who want this, and we will work with those families to get these kids signed up."
Two of Mrs. Wood's former colleagues from the General Assembly were present at Mr. Warner's announcement state Sen. William Wampler, Bristol Republican, and Delegate Anne G. "Panny" Rhodes, Richmond Republican.
"You could hear from the answers she gave today that she is as solid as the day is long. She understands the issues," Mr. Wampler said.

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