President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Linda Schwartz, Connecticut’s Veterans Affairs Commissioner, to a federal position as assistant secretary of veteran affairs policy and planning.

A retired Air Force veteran, Schwartz was first appointed by former Gov. John G. Rowland in 2003 and was reappointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2011.

Malloy, who was in Wisconsin on Friday for a National Governor’s Association meeting, issued a statement applauding Obama’s nomination of Schwartz.

“For more than ten years, Commissioner Schwartz has been a strong and important voice for veterans in Connecticut, and she is an excellent choice to serve veterans on a national level. Her appointment is also a great loss for Connecticut. The commissioner’s integrity and her work on behalf of Connecticut’s veterans and women veterans, and on the Governor’s Veterans Cabinet, has a critical impact on improving how the state delivers programs and services to our veterans and military service members. She has greatly improved the lives of our military men and women,” Malloy said.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal also released a statement calling Schwartz a “champion of veterans and a national star.” As a member of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, he said he would work to see her approved quickly.

“Linda has been a powerful advocate for the critical need to expedite veterans’ claims, and for making federal programs more responsive to the concerns and needs of veterans — priorities I share. As we work to address these issues, I can think of no better ally in Washington than Linda,” Blumenthal said.

Schwartz served in the Air Force from 1967 to 1986, when she was injured in an aircraft accident while acting as a flight nurse, according to her bio. She received a masters degree in nursing and a doctorate in public health from the Yale School of Medicine.