Xavier Bacerra, the Attorney General of California, will lead the health and human services department in President-elect Joe Biden's administration. A former Congressman, Bacerra (62) is the first Latino to lead the department.
He is taking charge at a time when the novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc throughout the United States, making it the worst-hit nation.
Born in California, but brought up in Mexico, Bacerra studied briefly in Spain, before getting his BA in Economics from Stanford University, thus becoming the first in his family to get a college degree.
After getting his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Stanford Law School in 1984, he was admitted to the State Bar of California, the next year.
Working as a lawyer, he was appointed as the deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice and served in the post from 1987 to 1990.
Bacerra got elected to California's State Assembly and served there from 1990 to 1992.
He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017, after which he became the Attorney General of California, succeeding Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Bacerra's role as health secretary will be crucial since ... people in the US have been infected and ... have lost their lives.
As California's top lawyer, he defended the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as 'Obamacare', from President Donald Trump.
As a former House Democrat, he also helped to steer the act through the US Congress in 2009 and 2010.