Abbott picks longtime aide to lead Texas health commission

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Greg Abbott has reappointed his former longtime aide as head of the Texas’ massive health agency.

Abbott announced Wednesday that Charles Smith will continue as executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission through January 2019. The governor first tapped Smith for the post last May.

Smith was once a top deputy under Abbott in the attorney general’s office before Abbott became governor in 2015.

Smith has been something of a stabilizing force since taking over the 60,000-person health commission. He started amid a $110 million, no-bid contracting scandal and as a federal judge began ordering improvements as part of an overhaul to the state’s embattled foster care system.

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Smith’s reappointment still has to be confirmed by the Texas Senate.