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Dr. Randall Williams

Missouri health director Williams resigns

Dr. Randall Williams, who has led Missouri’s COVID-19 strategy, has resigned as director of the Department of Health and Social Services.

“Dr. Williams has been a huge asset to Missouri, especially this past year in dealing with COVID-19,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “We greatly appreciate all the work he has done for the people of our state and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The state was recently listed as having the lowest Covid infection rate in the nation and has been credited, and attacked, for never having instituted a state-wide mask mandate. Williams was attacked by Democrats when his department’s report showed that a pool party at the Lake of the Ozarks had not been superspreader, though it was reported in the media as such.

Parson’s deputy chief of staff, Robert Knodell, will serve as the acting director of the state health department.

“As deputy chief of staff, Robert brings valuable knowledge and leadership experience to our team and the entire state of Missouri,” Parson said. “For more than a year, he has also played a leading role in Missouri’s COVID-19 response efforts, and I am more than confident in him to take over as acting director of the Department of Health and Senior Services.”

Williams was attacked by pro-abortion groups and the media during his tenure as the DHSS director when the state attempted to shutter the last remaining abortion facility.  The state was attempting to enforce safety regulation at the clinic and was opposed by Planned Parenthood.

Still, Williams said it was a matter of health and keeping women safe.

“Abortion is legal in Missouri, and we encourage all to work with our regulators to make sure it is safe,” Williams said at the time. “We do not let this part of our work keep us from the incredibly important issues we face … but it does mean we work many 14-hour days and more weekends — that just comes with the job.”

Williams, an OBGYN, took over as the director of DHSS after he was appointed by former Gov. Eric Greitens in 2017. Before that, Williams worked in North Carolina, his home state, as the director for its Department of Health and Human Services.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice