UPDATED 1:30 p.m.
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced he is bringing in an outsider and Oregon official as Washington’s next transportation secretary.
Lynn Peterson is a highway engineer and former chairwoman of the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners in suburban Portland who now serves as Gov. John Kitzhaber‘s adviser on sustainable communities and transportation policy.
Inslee chose her over Secretary Paula Hammond, who led the Department of Transportation for more than five years. Peterson will take the helm of an agency with an $8 billion two-year budget, even as money available for fixing Washington’s transportation problems is on a downward slope.
The Legislature is considering whether to raise gas taxes and other transportation taxes and fees, an idea that Inslee supports, but the new governor has not yet detailed what it should look like. House Democrats plan to release their plan this week.
Inslee also announced bank executive Carol Kobuke Nelson to lead the Department of Revenue, replacing Brad Flaherty, and Nicholas Brown as his general counsel or chief lawyer, replacing Narda Pierce. He reappointed Scott Jarvis to lead the Department of Financial Institutions.
Here’s the news release:
Governor Inslee announces new slate of appointments including Department of Transportation
OLYMPIA - Governor Jay Inslee today announced his appointments to head the departments of Transportation, Revenue and Financial Institutions as well as his choice of a new General Counsel.
Inslee appointed Lynn Peterson to serve as Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation. Peterson, a highway engineer, currently serves as the Sustainable Communities and Transportation Advisor to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.
“We need an innovative approach to fixing a transportation network that is outdated and hampering our economic growth,” said Inslee. “Lynn has the experience, creativity and leadership skills to help Washington build a transportation system for the 21st century. And we’ll do that in a way that more efficiently moves people and goods and reduces carbon emissions.”
Peterson helped manage several of Oregon’s statewide transportation initiatives including the Willamette Valley Passenger Rail Plan, Kitzhaber’s 10-year Energy Action Plan including Oregon’s portion of the Electric Highway from B.C. to Baja and acceleration of commercial fleet turnover to alternative fuels, and more.
“I am honored to have served Governor Kitzhaber and the citizens of Oregon,” said Peterson. “Together, we have made significant progress leveraging more investment for Oregon communities to meet their economic, social and environmental goals with less revenue. These values hold true for all citizens in the Northwest. I am pleased to be joining Governor Inslee’s Cabinet to help meet his desire to efficiently and cost-effectively build safe and healthy communities everywhere in the State of Washington.”
Paula Hammond, the current Secretary of WSDOT, is retiring after nearly six years as head of the department.
“Paula has done valuable work at WSDOT,” said Inslee. “Her leadership has made it possible for us to move forward on some of our state’s most significant projects, from the Alaskan Way Viaduct and SR 520 to intelligent transportation systems and incident response. She deserves our thanks and appreciation.”
Inslee appointed bank executive Carol Kobuke Nelson to lead the Department of Revenue.
Nelson has more than 25 years of executive experience in the banking sector, including at Bank of America, Cascade Financial Corporation and Opus Bank. For five consecutive years she was named one of the nation’s “25 Most Powerful Women and Women to Watch in Banking.”
“Carol’s record speaks for itself,” said Inslee. “She has demonstrated dynamic leadership that is evident in the bottom lines of the banks she’s worked for and has been widely recognized for creating a positive corporate culture with high morale.”
Scott Jarvis was reappointed as Director of the Department of Financial Institutions where he has served since 2005. DFI is responsible for regulating Washington’s financial service providers including banks, credit unions, the state’s securities industry, and other lenders.
Jarvis has used his more than 35 years of financial regulatory experience to ably lead DFI through this deep recession which so severely impacted Washington residents, homeowners, small businesses and the financial industries that serve them. At the same time, DFI continued vigorously enforcing Washington State laws against predatory lenders, and perpetrators of financial fraud and abuse who prey on our residents.
“Scott has been a very effective leader in a very complex industry,” said Inslee. “Scott is highly respected by the industries he regulates as an effective, knowledgeable, resourceful and fair regulator who understands the Washington financial industries environment and the critical contributions state-based financial institutions bring to our communities.”
Inslee also announced that he is appointing Nicholas Brown to be his new General Counsel, providing legal counsel to the Office of the Governor.
Brown currently works for the U.S. Attorney’s Office as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Terrorist & Violent Crimes Division. An experienced trial attorney, Brown has extensive practice trying firearms cases, violent crimes, and offenses arising from local Indian Reservations. Brown previously worked as a JAG attorney for the U.S. Army, which included a year of service in Iraq in 2005. He earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School.
“Nick is taking on one of the most important jobs in my office,” said Inslee. “His legal skills and expertise are impressive. He’ll be an outstanding addition to our team.”