The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation's assistant secretary of health.

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She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

The final vote was 52-48, mostly along party lines.

Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania’s top health official since 2017, and emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She is expected to oversee Health and Human Services offices and programs across the U.S.

Transgender-rights activists have hailed Levine’s appointment as a historic breakthrough.

Few trans people have ever held high-level offices at the federal or state level.

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