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

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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 he brings about the holistic nature of how human services and health care work together."


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