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Gov. Reynolds Chooses New DHS Director, Iowa SNAP Benefits Could Change

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Governor Kim Reynolds has appointed a new Iowa Department of Human Services director a couple of months after she abruptly ousted Jerry Foxhoven from the position.

Kelly Kennedy Garcia is scheduled to start leading the state’s biggest agency November first. She’s currently a deputy executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Garcia has also worked for the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which studies whether state agencies should be abolished, and for former Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry.

Former DHS Director Foxhoven has taken the first step toward a lawsuit over the governor’s request for his resignation, alleging whistleblower retaliation.

Reynolds has repeatedly said a lot of factors were involved in that decision. She says she wants to take the agency in a new direction but hasn’t provided details. 

A proposed change to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by the Trump administration could affect as many as 60-thousand Iowans, according to a new analysis by policy research organization Mathematica.

It would limit broad-based categorical eligibility, used by many states, including Iowa. This rule allows those who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to also enroll in SNAP benefits.

Sarah Lauffer is a Senior Research Programmer at Mathematica. She says Iowa could be highly affected by the change.

 About 16 percent of SNAP households in Iowa would no longer be eligible. That equates to about 28,000 households that would lose benefits.

The USDA is taking public comment on the proposed change through September 23.

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