Hospital exec to be health commissioner

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The longtime leader of a central Indiana hospital will become the new state health commissioner under Gov.-elect Mike Pence.

The incoming governor announced Thursday that Dr. William VanNess will lead the state Health Department. VanNess retired at the end of 2012 as president and CEO of Community Hospital of Anderson after 15 years in the position.

Pence also announced that he would keep Bruce Lemmon as the Department of Correction's commissioner. Lemmon has held numerous positions with the state prison system and was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels as its leader in 2011.

Pence named Sean Keefer as the state Labor Department commissioner. Keefer has been the Health Department's chief of staff the past two years and was previously a deputy commissioner of the Labor Department.

He also named the son of his campaign chairman to help lead the state's jobs-creation efforts.

Pence announced Thursday his pick of Victor Smith to become secretary of the state's Department of Commerce. Pence said Smith's experience as a business executive will help in selling Indiana to both domestic and overseas companies.

Smith is the son of Muncie industrialist Van Smith, who was Pence's campaign chairman and is a member of his transition team.

Pence also named Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden the new CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Doden has worked with a private equity firm based in Fort Wayne and previously was investment director of Ambassador Enterprises.

Pence will be sworn in on Monday as Indiana's new governor.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Indiana politics enter a new era as MIke Pence prepares to take over as the next governor.
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