A state Senate committee has not decided whether to request full Senate confirmation for a controversial appointment to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.
OLYMPIA — A Senate committee on Thursday questioned the controversial Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission appointment of Jay Kehne, from Omak, but made no decision about whether to ask the full Senate for his confirmation.
Appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in December, Kehne works for Conservation Northwest and traveled the state to talk about the state’s proposed wolf recovery plan. He came under fire by Okanogan County Republicans and other groups that claimed he did not represent the views of Eastern Washington, the region he was appointed to represent.
Responding to a question Thursday about why five county Farm Bureaus in the state opposed his appointment, Kehne told state senators of the Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee that his opponents were well organized, but that he has many supporters.
Sen. Val Stevens, a Republican, said she was concerned about the opposition, including a letter opposing him included 98 signatures — “a great percentage of folks from your own county.”
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But Sen. Kevin Ranker, a Democrat and chairman of the committee, concluded the hearing saying he believes the governor made “an excellent choice.”
Kehne said Tuesday most Wildlife commissioners have not been confirmed, and he can keep his post even if the Senate never holds a confirmation hearing. He said given the Legislature’s busy schedule this session, he wouldn’t be surprised if the committee never sends it to the full Senate.