By Charles Lam
Northwest Asian Weekly
Kendee Yamaguchi, currently an assistant attorney general; the director of policy, legislative affairs and external relations for the Washington State Office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson; and a member of Ferguson’s senior leadership team, will be joining the Washington State Department of Commerce effect Oct. 1 as the new assistant director for local government and infrastructure.
“I am looking forward to being able to work with community-based organizations and local governments on economic development activities, infrastructure investments and community services for people in need,” Yamaguchi said.
As assistant director, Yamaguchi will manage a division and serve as the executive director to both the Community Economic Revitalization Board and the Public Works Board. She will manage an office budget of approximately $15 million and a greater budget of nearly $1 billion through working with more than 600 local governments across the state. A wide range of programs fall under the division, including the EPA Brownfields program, administration of the Growth Management Act, and the state revitalization and block grant programs.
Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Yamaguchi joined the Attorney General’s office on Feb. 5, 2013.
“Kendee’s selection to this leadership position in the Inslee Administration speaks greatly of her ability and skills,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “While she will be missed in the attorney general’s office, I am excited she will have this new opportunity to serve our state. I congratulate her and wish her the best.”
In addition to the office of the attorney general, Yamaguchi has served in multiple government positions at both state and national levels. As the executive director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs under former Gov. Christine Gregoire, Yamaguchi served as a small agency cabinet member and advised the governor, state agencies, Legislature and local government on policies, plans, and programs that affected Asian and Pacific Americans.
Yamaguchi has also worked in the Clinton White House as a director in the Office of Management and Administration. She has experience working as a television executive and a staff member in the Washington State Legislature. She has also worked as an attorney in a private practice.
Yamaguchi earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and public communications with a minor in international affairs from American University. She is also a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship – PPIA and earned a law doctorate from the Seattle University School of Law.
A third-generation Japanese American who was born and raised in Washington, Yamaguchi is a former member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee and serves on the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. (end)
Charles Lam can be reached at Charles@nwasianweekly.com.