10/08/2005

BostonHerald: Can flu guru do the job? Critics question his credentials

SOB!!! Bush has another "Brownie" in a key health / emergency post. "`Mr. Simonson is a lawyer, not a medical expert.'' -- law

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness Stewart Simonson lacks a medical or public health management background. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1986 and a law degree in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin, and worked as legal counsel to Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson from 1995 to 1999 before following his boss to Washington when Thompson was tapped to be Health and Human Services secretary. According to his HHS bio, Simonson previously served as corporate secretary and counsel for Amtrak.


Simonson's record sparks concerns as flu fears spike.
``If the avian flu were to hit here, it would be like having a Category 5 viral hurricane hit every single state simultaneously,'' said Shelley Hearne, director of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health, yesterday.
To some, Simonson's resume is disturbingly reminiscent of that of disgraced former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown.
``I'm concerned with what I see as a lack of field experience in Mr. Simonson's background,'' said Massachusetts Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian (D-Waltham), the house chairman of the public health committee.
``We saw this with the former FEMA director. It looks on paper to be a political appointment. There were massive problems with that operation,'' Koutoujian said.
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) recently released a ``fact sheet'' blasting Simonson, Brown and other public safety officials.
``The Bush Administration has repeatedly appointed inexperienced individuals with political connections to important government posts, including positions with key responsibilities for public health and safety,'' the fact sheet read. ``Mr. Simonson is a lawyer, not a medical expert.''

BostonHerald.com - National News: Can flu guru do the job? Critics question his credentials

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