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Inslee names new leaders for Agriculture and Health agencies; retains Bette Hyde at Dept. of Early Learning

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on March 12, 2013 at 10:41 am with 1 Comment »
March 12, 2013 2:52 pm
Bette Hyde
Bette Hyde


John Wiesman
John Wiesman

Gov. Jay Inslee continued to fill out his cabinet with three appointments announced this morning. He is keeping Bette Hyde as director of the Department of Early Learning, while replacing Agriculture director Dan Newhouse with Bud Hover, who is an Okanogan County commissioner and has a ranch in Winthrop.

The Democratic governor also is replacing retiring Health Secretary Mary Selecky – the longest serving current agency leader who began her public health career in Colville – with another local, public health director, John Wiesman, who is in charge of Clark County’s public health agency.

In replacing Newhouse with Hover, Inslee is replacing a former Republican state representative and fruit farmer with a rancher who also played professional football. Donald “Bud” Hover now chairs the Salmon Recovery Board that parcels out grants for projects that improve habitat and fish runs.

Hyde offers continuity at the Early Learning agency, and Inslee credited her with winning a federal Race to the Top grant.

State Republicans have mocked Inslee for not bringing in more leaders from outside government after his campaign pledge to bring “disruptive” change agents into the mix. These appointments are not likely to dispel that criticism.

Here is Inslee’s announcement:

Agriculture, early learning and health: Governor Inslee announces new cabinet appointments

OLYMPIA – Governor Jay Inslee today announced his latest round of cabinet appointments, naming directors for the state departments of Agriculture, Early Learning and Health.

Okanogan rancher Bud Hover will become the director of the Department of Agriculture. Hover is a former Okanogan County Commissioner and current chair of the state Salmon Recovery Board. His family runs a 2,300-acre hay and cattle ranch in Winthrop.

“Agriculture is one of Washington’s most significant cultural and economic cornerstones,” said Inslee. “Bud’s experience as a rancher and his work on issues from water to wildlife will be invaluable in further growing this vital industry.”

Inslee also praised the outgoing director of Agriculture, Dan Newhouse.

“Dan is held in high regard for his adept leadership, and deservedly so,” said Inslee. “He’s helped steer this department and this industry through some challenging times. I thank him for all his service.”

Inslee is reappointing Dr. Bette Hyde to continue serving as director of the state’s Department of Early Learning.

Hyde has been overseeing DEL since 2009 and led efforts to win a competitive $60 million federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant and established the first 10-year strategic plan for Washington’s early learning efforts.

“Quality early learning is, without question, one of the best investments we can make for our children and our state,” said Inslee. “This is one of my top priorities. Dr. Hyde’s accomplishments and numbers speak for themselves. She’s helping make Washington State a national leader in this area and it’s Washington’s youngest residents who are reaping the benefits.”

Inslee announced John Wiesman will head the Department of Health, replacing Mary Selecky who recently announced her retirement.

Wiesman is currently Public Health Director for Clark County Public Health and on the board of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. He has more than 25 years of experience working on HIV/AIDS issues and public health.

“Our health officials do so much behind the scenes to keep our communities and families healthy and safe. John’s leadership will be essential to continuing and building upon the good work Mary has accomplished these past years,” said Inslee. “I also appreciate John’s unique perspective from his work in the AIDS community, and the understanding that brings about the holistic nature of how human services and health care work together.”

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