Gov. Chris Gregoire this morning appointed state Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, as director of the state Department of Agriculture.
"As a farmer and state legislator, Dan brings a wealth of experience to the Department of Agriculture and understands the important role agriculture plays in our state's economy, culture and our future," Gregore said in a statement announcing the appointment.
Newhouse, elected to the House in 2002 and the son of longtime lawmaker Irv Newhouse, said he's excited "to bring a farmer's perspective to this agency, as well as a diverse point of view to the governor's cabinet."
Newhouse's marching orders: expand international markets and work with state environmental officials "to identify new water sources for Eastern Washington communities, farmers and fish."
Newhouse will assume the post on Feb. 18th, at a salary of $122,478 a year.