Bredesen appoints head of human services

From Staff Reports

   Governor-elect Phil Bredesen yesterday named Virginia T. "Gina" Lodge as the next commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Lodge has served as personnel coordinator for Bredesen's transition team.
   Lodge, 52, is a longtime Nashville civic and community activist. In the 1990s, she helped lead the push for improvement in public education as a member of Metro Nashville's Equity and Excellence Committee, an organization that advised school board members on efforts to resolve the city's federal desegregation court order.
   She also helped lead Parents for Public Education, a grassroots organization to promote better education in public schools.
   "Gina is a highly capable and compassionate individual who understands the challenges facing Tennessee's families and children," Bredesen said. "She will work hard to make sure the people in our state who truly need help get it."
   Lodge is an Annapolis, Md. native who has lived in Nashville since 1978. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Hawaii, a master's degree in English literature from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.
   The Department of Human Services is responsible for a variety of functions, including administering Tennessee's Families First program, processing applications for TennCare, regulating childcare centers, and providing funding for local community agencies. The department has more than 140 office locations across the state.