Governor Inslee appoints Kate Dean to the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council

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Good news. Kate is an excellent choice. She has done a great job in her current roles, including chairing the regional ecosystem coordination board. She cares about the environment and the recovery of the Sound, having put in many hundreds of hours in the mandatory dull meetings prioritizing lists of environmental work and debating funding different projects. Having a voice from rural counties is badly needed. As a County Commissioner, she is deeply involved in issues that directly impact the Strait and the Hood Canal.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Hyde, 360.819.3045, kevin.hyde@psp.wa.gov 
OLYMPIA — Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Kate Dean to the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council, the governing body of the Puget Sound Partnership. Dean is a Jefferson County Commissioner for District 1, Port Townsend, and has served on the Puget Sound Partnership’s Ecosystem Coordination Board, which advises the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council on carrying out its responsibilities.

“With her knowledge and passion, Kate will make great contributions to the Puget Sound Partnership’s work to achieve a healthy, resilient Puget Sound,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Her experience with local economic development issues, her understanding of rural communities, and her leadership as a Jefferson County Commissioner and member of the Partnership’s Ecosystem Coordination Board all make her an outstanding addition to the Leadership Council.”

“I am really excited about Kate Dean joining the Leadership Council,” said Jay Manning, chair of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council. “She has already proven herself as an effective and passionate advocate for restoring Puget Sound to good health and she will make the Leadership Council a stronger voice for recovery. We just issued the 2021 State of the Sound report and it is clear that what we as a society are doing now to protect and restore Puget Sound is not enough. Kate, and her experience as a County Commissioner, will help us make the hard decisions we need to make to save Puget Sound.”Dean was elected to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners in 2017. She moved to Jefferson County in 1999 and spent 10 years farming and working to grow the local food economy through businesses she co-founded, including FinnRiver Farm and Mt. Townsend Creamery. Her experience as an entrepreneur is critical to her understanding of the local economy and community.

Dean left the farm but didn’t go far; she started a consulting business that had her working on natural resource and rural economic development issues locally and regionally. She coordinated the Jefferson Landworks Collaborative (a farmland preservation and enterprise development initiative), managed Washington State University Extension’s Small Farm Program, worked for Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, and was the regional director for the North Olympic Development Council, a council of governments tasked with community and economic development. Dean has served on the Ecosystem Coordination Board as the alternate for Rep. Steve Tharinger, representing the Strait of Juan de Fuca Action Area since 2017, and representing Puget Sound counties since early 2021. In 2019, Dean proposed the board form a land use subcommittee to work on identifying tools, policies, and funding mechanisms to support the participation of counties and cities in the protection and recovery of Puget Sound. Since then, she has co-chaired the land use subcommittee, which includes many of the local elected officials on the board and representatives from tribal, state, and federal governments. She also helped draft a protocol for the board to rotate meetings around the Puget Sound to co-host local forums.

The purpose of the local forums is to expand local decision-maker engagement with the Puget Sound recovery community and discuss local priorities.Dean holds her Master of Public Administration degree from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. Her publications include USDA Farmland Changing Hands and Preparing for Climate Change on the North Olympic Peninsula. In her spare time, Dean can be found gardening, riding her bike, or in the mountains with her two teenagers.“It’s an honor to be appointed to such a committed group as the Leadership Council,” Dean said. “I’m pleased that the Partnership sees the value of having local government represented in this critical work. A healthy Puget Sound is essential to a rural county like mine and I look forward to working on a regional scale to protect and restore it.””I’m delighted that Kate is joining the Leadership Council,” said Laura Blackmore, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “In her work as a Jefferson County Commissioner, Ecosystem Coordination Board member, and regular attendee at Puget Sound Day on the Hill, she has shown her commitment to Puget Sound recovery and her passion for connecting with partners. I know that she will help us advance our work toward a resilient Puget Sound.”Dean’s term on the Leadership Council runs through June 25, 2025. She fills the vacancy recently left by Stephanie Solien, who served on the council for seven years. Solien recently served as vice chair for the Leadership Council and was co-chair of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force. 

About the Leadership Council
The Leadership Council is the governing body of the Puget Sound Partnership. Its seven members are leading citizens chosen from around the Sound and appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. Jay Manning currently chairs the Leadership Council.

About the Puget Sound Partnership

The Puget Sound Partnership is the state agency formed to lead the region’s collective effort to restore and protect Puget Sound. Working with hundreds of government agencies, tribes, scientists, businesses, and nonprofits, the Partnership mobilizes partner action around a common agenda, advances Sound investments, and tracks progress to optimize recovery. For more information, go to www.psp.wa.gov.

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