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Hocul nominates new state health commissioner

A woman wears a face mask while walking past an American flag.
Don Pollard
Gov, Kathy Hochul wears a navy blue face covering that features the outline of New York state.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is nominating Dr. James McDonald to serve as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.

McDonald has served as the department’s acting commissioner since the start of the year, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Hochul said in the midst of unprecedented public health crises, the department did a phenomenal job of keeping citizens healthy, with McDonald being a leading force.

"Dr. James V. McDonald is a talented public health leader with the skills and experience necessary to lead our Department of Health," Hochul said in a statement.

McDonald, who is a native New Yorker originally from Cohoes, said he is thankful for Hochul's continued belief in his abilities.

"Serving as commissioner of the New York State Department of Health is the honor of a lifetime," McDonald said in a statement. "I am deeply grateful to Gov. Hochul for her confidence in me, and I look forward to working closely with my Department of Health colleagues to continue to deliver for New Yorkers."

McDonald was previously a trained pediatrician, with decades of public health experience in New York, Rhode Island, and the Navajo Nation, the governor's office said.