Gov-Elect Shapiro Taps Former Colleague Valerie Arkoosh to Head Department of Human Services

valerie arkoosh and josh shapiro
Image via David Swanson at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
This 2015 photo op showed Valerie Arkoosh issuing a flu vaccine to then-fellow commissioner Josh Shapiro.

Valerie Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners since 2016, has been picked by Governor-elect Josh Shapiro to lead the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Abraham Gutman covered her upcoming new role in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Arkoosh and Shapiro have been collaborators since his service as a Montgomery County Commissioner. She was selected to succeed him when he became Pennsylvania attorney general.


Read Valerie Arkoosh’s Montgomery County Leadership Profile.


She is the first woman to lead the county since its 1784 founding.

Arkoosh, a Springfield Township resident, has had political aspirations beyond its borders; however, none came to fruition. In 2014, she ran unsuccessfully for Congress. And in 2022 she sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, leaning into the strength of her education and medical training with the slogan: “No B.S., just science.” Ninety days into the race, she exited.

As human services secretary, Arkoosh will oversee Pennsylvania’s:

  • Medicaid program
  • Child welfare services
  • Social programs, (such as food stamps)
  • State licensing of care providers such as assisted living and behavioral health treatment facilities

“I am deeply honored to be able to continue this fight alongside my friend,” Arkoosh said in reaction to the announcement.

The Montgomery County court system will approve a replacement on the commissioner’s board for the remainder of her term there.

More on the transition of Valerie Akoosh to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


In Oct. 2020, Valerie Arkoosh delivered this Montgomery County–centric address to the online version of the Clean Energy and Health Conference.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.