Alvarado accepts health commissioner position in Tennessee

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, November 24, 2022

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State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, who earlier this month won re-election to another four-year term, will be stepping aside in January to become commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.

In announcing the appointment of Alvarado, a physician, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said: “Dr. Alvarado’s significant clinical and hospital management experience make him well-positioned to lead the Department of Health, and I appreciate his service to Tennesseans.”

In a statement, the 52-year old Alvarado called serving the people of his district the honor of his life.

“I am incredibly thankful for my time in the Kentucky Senate since first being elected in 2014. I will always be grateful for my constituents’ continued faith and trust in me. Working alongside my Senate and House colleagues is an experience I will always treasure, and the friendships I have developed will last a lifetime,” he said. “The hardest part of this transition is knowing I will no longer be the voice for my constituents in Frankfort upon my resignation. I will continue representing the 28th District during the early stages of the 2023 Legislative Session.

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“The opportunity presented to me by Governor Lee is a chance to have an even more significant impact on public policy. In making the difficult decision to accept this offer, my focus remains on faith, family and public service. I’ve ultimately determined that taking the role of commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health is the right thing for my family and me. Ultimately, it is an excellent opportunity to lead.

“With the exception of accepting Christ as my savior, promising to forever cherish my wife Dawn and the birth of my two incredible children, two of the most special moments of my life have been taking the Hippocratic oath and swearing my oath to the Constitution in service to Senate District 28.”

Alvarado said he and Gov. Lee have similar policy vision and he looks forward to making “the Volunteer State the standard bearer in sound, patient-first public health policy.”

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said he looked back fondly on when he first met Ralph and Dawn Alvarado. “In our collective efforts to first get Ralph elected, we developed a strong friendship. I knew from the start he would succeed in the state Senate, just as he has as a medical professional. I have no doubt the same will be true in his new role,” Stivers said.

“Senator Alvarado has been among the most effective legislators in the Kentucky General Assembly, and we have leaned trustingly on his expertise and insight on health policy matters and so much more.  His fingerprints are deeply embedded in the many successes Kentucky has experienced this past decade.”

Alvarado will remain the representative of Senate District 28 through the first week of the 2023 Legislative Session and up until he resigns or takes his oath of office in Tennessee’s executive branch. Stivers said.

“His presence is critical to the start of our 2023 session because historically, key legislation has been crafted and passed at this time,” the Senate president said.

Stivers said Alvarado will be an “incredible addition to Governor Lee’s team.”

Alvarado, who was born in San Francisco, California, was the first Hispanic person ever elected to the Kentucky General Assembly. His father is from Costa Rica and his mother from Argentina.