Daniel Zingale, an openly gay man who has overseen health maintenance organizations in California as director of the state's Department of Managed Health Care since July 2000, has been tapped by Gov. Gray Davis to serve as cabinet secretary, a position that oversees all of California's various agencies and departments. The appointment makes Zingale the highest-ranking gay man ever to serve in any California governor's administration. Zingale replaces out lesbian Susan Kennedy, whom Davis appointed to the state's Public Utilities Commission.
"I am deeply honored that the governor has asked me to serve as cabinet secretary and am counting on your continued support and friendship in the challenging days ahead," Zingale wrote in a January 14 letter to staff and supporters of the Department of Managed Health Care, which was created to better protect HMO patients and promote a more stable and solvent managed health care industry. The department has received high marks for its work, and the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Zingale has turned out to be an effective, thoughtful regulator, just what the state needed."
Zingale has worked on health care issues and public policy for nearly 20 years, including serving as executive director of Washington, D.C.-based AIDS Action from 1997 to 1999. He also has served as public policy director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national lesbian and gay civil rights organization, and as managing director of government relations for the American Psychological Association.
Zingale lives in Sacramento with his partner, Chuck Supple, and their two young sons.