Gov. Olene Walker: "It's a great thing not only for our state but for the whole country. He understands the issues of health and human services and certainly is cognizant of the impacts they often have on the states."

Gov.-elect Jon Huntsman, Jr.: "It really says something about Mike that I think is very complimentary. It's good for the state. . . . There are some very good opportunities having a secretary for health and human services who understands the lay of the land so well here in Utah."

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah: "Mike Leavitt will bring competence and compassion to the people's agency. President Bush could not have selected a better person to meet the challenges HHS faces. . . ."

U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah: "Mike Leavitt is motivated by challenges. He has proven himself as a visionary and talented administrator in Utah and with the EPA, and I agree with the president that he is ideally suited to address these concerns as head of HHS."

U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah: "From welfare reform to implementing the new Medicare prescription drug plan, there is a lot we can accomplish for Utahns by working together in a bipartisan manner."

State Republican party chairman Joe Cannon: "He managed EPA and he'd only been there a year and did a lot of really terrific things there. I think that raised attention. . . . His leadership was demonstrated."

Utah pollster Dan Jones: "I really feel he enjoyed being head of the EPA. He was really getting into it, but he'll serve where the president asks him to."

Judi Hilman, chief health policy analyst with Utah Issues: "In the brief life span of the Health Policy Commission, he tried to look at a full range of challenges, some of which were very difficult and stubborn."

Leighton Ku, a senior fellow with the Center for Budget and Policy Research: "By choosing a governor involved in (block grants for welfare agencies), it signals where this administration is going,"

Rob Ence, executive director of the Utah branch of the American Association of Retired Persons: "I worry about his ability to impact policy given the ideology of the administration."

Scott Williams, director, Utah Department of Health: "I think he gained a lot of experience with health issues when he was governor. He started with some knowledge because he was in the health insurance industry, but learned more with Medicare/Medicaid, disaster response and state's response to immunizations."