Tennessee’s Next Health Commissioner Will Be Kentucky State Sen. Ralph Alvarado

by Steve Bittenbender


Kentucky state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, will soon be heading to Tennessee.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Alvarado, a medical doctor and healthcare executive, will become the next commissioner of the state’s Department of Health. The move takes effect January 16.

“It’s an honor to join Gov. Lee’s team to advance health and prosperity for every Tennessean,” said Alvarado. “I appreciate this opportunity and look forward to serving individuals and families across the Volunteer State.”

Alvarado will replace Dr. Morgan McDonald, who has served as the state’s interim commissioner since June. Former Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey departed from the Lee Administration in May.

“Dr. McDonald is a dedicated public servant, and I commend her continued leadership during this time of transition,” 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.”

Alvarado, 52, became the first Hispanic member of the Kentucky General Assembly when he beat then-state Sen. R.J. Palmer in the 2014 general election. He won his third term earlier this month, facing only a write-in campaign from Joshua Buckman, an independent candidate.

Alvarado also served as then-Gov. Matt Bevin’s lieutenant governor pick for his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2019.

Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Wednesday that Alvarado will remain in his set through the first week of the General Assembly’s 2023 session, which begins on January 3. The remainder of the 30-day session will take place in February and March.

“His presence is critical to the start of our 2023 session because historically, key legislation has been crafted and passed at this time,” said Stivers, who also wished Alvarado well in his new role.

A special election will be scheduled.

While he chairs the Kentucky State Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Alvarado has also been a leading proponent for creating education opportunity accounts that would give families more control over where they can send their children to school.

“Sen. 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,” Stivers said. “His fingerprints are deeply embedded in the many successes Kentucky has experienced this past decade.”

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Steve Bittenbender is a regular contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Ralph Alvarado” by Ralph Alvarado.


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4 Thoughts to “Tennessee’s Next Health Commissioner Will Be Kentucky State Sen. Ralph Alvarado”

  1. Cannoneertwo

    Two winners in a row in this position…

  2. Joe Blow

    Sounds like another of Lee’s foibles. Where does he did these folks up? Frankly, I have no trust in the TN state health operation and even less when it comes to Little Billy Lee.

  3. This person is so invested in their love of Tennessee, that they live and represent Kentucky. Got it.