Governor Inslee Appoints Kate Dean to State Board of Health

Governor Inslee Appoints Jefferson County Commissioner to Represent Washington Counties

Tumwater, WA – March 21, 2023 – Governor Jay Inslee appointed Kate Dean, Jefferson County Commissioner, to the Washington State Board of Health. She fills the position of an elected official who represents state counties and is a member of a local board of health.

Member Dean was elected to join the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners in 2017 and represents District 1, Port Townsend. 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.

“I’m honored to serve in this role,” said Member Dean. “It is critical to have the voice of Counties, who are often the providers of public health services, at the table.”

“We are so pleased to welcome Commissioner Dean to the State Board of Health”, said Michelle Davis, Executive Director to the Board. “She has a deep understanding of the needs and challenges that rural communities face. Commissioner Dean has significant experience working through thorny issues with tribes, local and state government, and the business community. Her commitment to helping communities thrive makes her an excellent fit for this position on the Board.”

In 2009, Member Dean established a consulting business focused on local and regional natural resource and rural economic development issues. She coordinated the Jefferson Landworks Collaborative (a farmland preservation and enterprise development initiative), managed Washington State University (WSU) 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. 

She holds her master’s in public administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington (UW). Her publications include United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmland Changing Hands and Preparing for Climate Change on the North Olympic Peninsula. Member Dean serves on several statewide boards including the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council, the Washington Sea Grant Advisory Council and she co-chairs the Association of Counties Legislative Steering Committee.

Member Deans full biography is available on our website. The next Board meeting will be April 12. A draft agenda will be disseminated March 29. Subscribe to our email distribution list, visit our website, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest news and information about Board meetings and rulemaking projects.


Established by the state constitution in 1889, the State Board of Health has served the people of Washington for 132 years, providing leadership and advancing public health practices that protect and improve the public’s health. Our work focuses on analyzing policies, developing rules, promoting partnerships, and encouraging public engagement in the public health system.

Media contact information

Anna Burns
Communication Consultant

Washington State Board of Health

(360) 236-4110

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