Labor Secretary Picks Capitol Hill Veteran as Chief of Staff

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By Ben Penn

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta formally named Wayne Palmer, who has been guiding the agency’s transition since January, as his chief of staff, the Labor Department said May 26.

Palmer, a former chief of staff to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), began working at the Labor Department Jan. 20 as a temporary political official and was also assisting Acosta during his Senate confirmation preparations. He becomes the first major political hire at the DOL since Acosta was sworn into office April 28.

Immediately prior to his DOL service, Palmer was a senior manager at the Center for Presidential Transition.

Chief of staff is considered one of the most influential positions at the agency, with the power to push policy, handle managerial operations, and facilitate the secretary’s stakeholder outreach.

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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at; Christopher Opfer at

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