Ferguson Leaves DHS

The Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health and Human Services is stepping down to run for Congress. Christine Ferguson said Tuesday her resignation would take effect at the end of the week.

Ferguson was the chief architect of Rhode Island’s much lauded public health insurance program, RITECARE. She will leave office at a time that questions about whether the state can afford to continue funding RITECARE are being raised.

“We as a state have reason to be very proud that we've done so well insuring our working families and our children and that's going to be a legacy that I'm very proud of,” Ferguson said.

Governor Lincoln Almond praised Ferguson’s performance as Health and Human Services Director. “She has had an impact on the quality of life of countless Rhode Islanders, especially the young, the elderly, working families, the disabled and our veterans. I thank Christy for her years of service to our state and wish her well in her future endeavors,” Almond said in a statement.

The governor appointed Deputy Director Jane Hayward to succeed Ferguson. “For years, Jane has been closely involved in the administration of the department and the development of its services,” said Almond. “She is fully prepared to continue the mission of the department with her vast experience and demonstrated commitment to the people served by DHS.”

Ferguson enters a crowded field of Republicans seeking to challenge Congressman Patrick Kennedy. Other Republican candidates are technical analyst David Rogers of Portsmouth and businessman Michael Battles of Newport.