Gov. Jay Inslee looked far afield and close to home to fill two key positions in his Cabinet.
Today he tapped federal Medicare and Medicaid official Dorothy Frost Teeter to lead the Health Care Authority, one of the state agencies that handles the most money and the one that is taking the lead on implementing President Barack Obama’s health law. She will be familiar with Washington, having been an official at Seattle King County Public Health and an executive at Group Health Cooperative.
He announced today that his new Commerce director will be Brian Bonlender, who ran Inslee’s congressional office and advised him on policy during his campaign. Bonlender also directed Inslee’s transition team, which advised him on filling his administration.
The Commerce chief is a job that Inslee wants to scale back. He wants to pull economic-development responsibilities into a new agency, leaving housing and infrastructure duties with Commerce. He criticized Commerce on the campaign trail, saying in his jobs plan that it has:
not been provided the needed focus on key industries; have been mixed with unrelated government agencies; have failed to incorporate a system to continuously evaluate and improve competitiveness; and have been inadequately empowered to break through agency silos to streamline regulations and permitting rules.
The new governor is also reappointing Bret Daugherty as adjutant general in charge of the Military Department, continuing Inslee’s trend of retaining officials at public-safety agencies. The agency is in charge of the National Guard and emergency response and 911 programs.