June 29, 2016
Earlier today, I shared the news with my staff that I will be leaving ACL at the end of July. Edwin Walker, who currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging, will assume the roles of Acting Administrator of ACL and Acting Assistant Secretary for Aging.
This kind of announcement is really hard. On one hand, it’s no surprise to anyone. It’s an election year, and new administrations mean new administrators. This is how the system works – and it’s good that it does. It’s good to get a fresh perspective and new energy.
But it is still really hard to leave. This has been a wonderful experience and an extremely rewarding seven years. And as I told the ACL team, I am proud of what we have done together. We have brought our communities together in a way that gives us a larger voice and more influence, and ultimately makes us more successful as advocates.
Consolidating aging and disability work in one place raised some eyebrows. These seemed like very different groups of people. And they are. But there are a lot of similarities in the services and supports people need in order to live independently. So it made sense to bring the federal efforts to support community living together under one umbrella.
But it worked because you made the leap of faith with us. You worked with us to build the agency the right way from the beginning, and you’ve continued to work with us as the agency has grown. I want you to know how much I appreciate your advice, support, and even your tough assessments. We’re better because of it.
It has been my great honor and privilege to work with you. I am grateful to Edwin Walker for stepping into these roles. And I am looking forward to seeing ACL continue to build upon the foundation we’ve created together.