Jul 16, 2010
01:37 PMThe Wind Machine
Today is the last day at the office for Jerry Hill.
Few in the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry probably have met or even know of Mr. Hill, but he has been an effective advocate on produce industry issues in the nation’s capital for the past several decades. The start of his career included a stint on Capitol Hill with Senator John Tunney of California. Afterwards, he moved to USDA where, as a political appointee, he was a deputy assistant secretary of agriculture responsible for such agencies as the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
An attorney, Mr. Hill eventually moved from USDA to private practice, with most of his clients coming from agriculture and many of these involved with fruits and vegetables. Of late, he has been with the Washington, D.C., office of the national law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.
I first became acquainted with Jerry Hill in the early 1980s when we worked together on agricultural labor issues during a legislative effort that led to the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Later, Mr. Hill became the legal advisor to TreeTAC, the group the Northwest Horticultural Council helped organize in 2001 to watch over phytosanitary import issues related to apples, pears, and cherries.
Jerry Hill brought reasonable solutions to practical, often complicated, problems. Always honest, he solved issues quietly and without partisanship in a highly political and intensely publicity-seeking town. After five o’clock today he will enter his retirement, and I will miss his wise counsel.