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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Curt Smitch, Locke’s top natural resources advisor, to retire

OLYMPIA — Curt Smitch, the governor’s top advisor since 1997 on wild salmon protection and other natural resource issues, will retire at the end of June, Gov. Gary Locke announced today.

“I am going to miss Curt very much,” Locke said. “He has provided a wealth of knowledge and experience to the state and me on natural resources management and policy issues, particularly on salmon, water and the Endangered Species Act.”

“Working for Governor Locke has been an honor and a great opportunity,” Smitch said. “The governor does not dwell on headlines, but is more concerned with results. Because of that, he does not get the credit he deserves for protecting our state’s environment and natural resources. I am totally confident that history will underscore the achievements of Governor Locke in these areas.”

The governor has not selected a replacement for Smitch.

The governor noted that the veteran fish and wildlife policymaker will end a long and distinguished government career when he becomes a partner in the Tacoma-based Thompson Consulting Group in July.

“Curt gets things done,” Locke said. “While he cares passionately about our state’s fish and wildlife, he is always focused on getting something done on the ground. He is not interested in fighting about who is right or who is wrong. This is why I chose Curt to lead my salmon recovery effort and to be a central part of my water team. There has not been a major environmental accomplishment in the state of Washington over the last decade in which Curt Smitch has not been directly involved.”

“Whether it was compliance with the Endangered Species Act, salmon, water, the first update in our state’s Shorelines Management Act since 1970, negotiations with the agriculture community on salmon, working with the governors of Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska, or working with our congressional delegation on salmon funding, I could always count on Curt to help me find a way through the issues,” the governor said.

Smitch, 57, served as assistant director in the Department of Fisheries, director of the Department of Wildlife, special assistant for natural resources for Gov. Booth Gardner, assistant regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, chair of the Pacific Salmon Commission (appointed by President Clinton), and finally, as special assistant for natural resources for Locke and chairman of the governor’s Joint Natural Resources Cabinet.

Tim Thompson, president of Thompson Consulting Group, called Curt Smitch one of the state’s most effective environmental problem solvers. “We are excited to have Curt join our firm. I believe he is one of the region’s foremost experts on environmental and regulatory issues. However, his greatest asset is his ability to work with diverse interests to achieve positive results for all parties.”
Related Links:
- Salmon Recovery
- Department of Fish and Wildlife

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