OLYMPIA –Washington Gov. Jay Inslee appointed two new members to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission: King County resident Fred Koontz and Jefferson County resident Lorna Smith.
The Commission is a nine-person citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Both new members’ terms run from Jan. 4, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2026.
Incoming Commissioner Koontz brings with him experience drawn from a 35-year career that spans wildlife conservation activities, researching animal behavior, and associated volunteer efforts. He has served previously on WDFW advisory committees where he advised personnel on topics ranging from recovery of endangered species to securing long-term funding solutions.
“Fish, wildlife, and habitat are facing significant conservation challenges and WDFW has an essential role in addressing them,” said Koontz. “I look forward to building on my wildlife conservation background and previous public service to advance WDFW’s important mission.”
Incoming Commissioner Smith has a long history of working to broaden support for fish and wildlife programs and funding. Throughout her career she has served WDFW on several advisory committees including the previous lands and non-game advisory committees.
“I thank Governor Inslee for providing me this opportunity to serve Washingtonians and Washington’s wildlife in this role,” said Smith. “The agency’s work is near and dear to my heart and I’m excited, honored, and humbled to join the Commission.”
There are three outgoing Commission members. Robert Kehoe of King County and David Graybill of Chelan County have served as members of the Commission since 2015. Dr. Brad Smith of Whatcom County, first appointed in 2009, has dedicated more than a decade to the Commission across two terms of service, and served as the Commission Chair from 2015 to 2019.
“I have appreciated the commitment and dedication of these three colleagues across many weekend and late-night meetings,” said Commission Chair Larry Carpenter. “The public’s trust placed on the Commission for managing Washington’s fish and wildlife resources is a tremendous responsibility and Bob, Dave, and Brad have continually come to the table ready to have informed and constructive discussion. I‘m confident that I speak for the entire Commission when I say how grateful we are for their efforts.”
The governor is expected to fill the Eastern Washington vacancy left by Commissioner Graybill in the near future.
Commission appointees are subject to confirmation by the state Senate, which will reconvene in January 2021. However, members are official upon appointment and serve as voting members on the Commission while awaiting Senate confirmation.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.