While the first responders for the surveillance, testing and treatment of foodborne illnesses comes from state and local governments, there’s another political universe outside of Washington D.C. that is plenty important to food safety – the naming of secretaries of health. It’s sort of a parallel universe.  As President Obama determines who will fill his cabinet, new governors have to determine who will serve at the head of their departments of health and human services, along with other appointments. Most state houses are controlled by Republicans. The GOP hit its high water in the the states in the 2010 elections; Democrats gained some state house ground in 2012. Most state legislative seats gained by Democrats were concentrated in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives. This year, the change in face at state inaugurals is not that different because just five of these events will include new governors. Governors Mike Pence of Indiana and Pat McCrory of North Carolina are the newest Republican chief executives. Gov. McCrory has named Dr. Aldona Z. Wos as North Carolina’s newest Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Wos was former President George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia, where she served from 2004 to 2006. The native of Warsaw, Poland is a graduate of the Warsaw Medical Academy who did her internship and residency in Pulmonary Medicine in New York and went on to practice medicine the U.S. Her father, a member of the Polish Home Army, was a survivor of the Flossenburg Concentration Camp. Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Jay Inslee of Washington have taken over as Democrats. Bullock has named Richard Opper at Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services.  He and Tracy Stone Manning, who previously held the position, are basically trading jobs as she is taking over the Department of Environmental Quality, the post Opper held under in the previous administration. New governors usually take a few weeks to fill top appointed positions in the state, sometimes longer when a predecessor is from the same political party.   More top state food safety jobs will likely be filled in the weeks ahead.