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● Randy Green, a former Deputy Undersecretary of USDA and chief of staff to the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, soon will be joining a Washington, D.C., public communications firm, Watson/Mulhern, which is now on a monthly retainer by the Northwest Horticultural Council for crisis communications assistance. Mr. Green, originally from Texas and most recently with the Capitol Hill law and lobbying firm McLeod, Watkinson & Miller, is an old friend of mine.

● Senator Patty Murray (D/Washington) almost certainly will become chairman of the United States Senate’s Budget Committee when the 113th Congress convenes next January. This will be the first chairmanship of a major permanent Senate committee by a Pacific Northwest member since, I think, the days of Senator Mark Hatfield (R/Oregon).

● Larry Elworth, who, since 2009, has been the chief agricultural advisor to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Lisa Jackson, will leave the federal government and his political appointment at EPA by the end of this week. Mr. Elworth, earlier in his career, was an executive with the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board.

● Robert Guenther is set to travel from Washington, D.C., to visit the Yakima Valley next week to speak on Tuesday at the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting and again the following day at a joint session of the governing boards of the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Washington Apple Commission. Mr. Guenther is the senior vice president for public policy at the United Fresh Produce Association.

● Tomorrow, I plan to travel to the nation’s capital for two trade policy meetings on Thursday; one to be held in the Jamie Whitten Building (USDA), and one in the Winder Building (USTR).

●  The Apple Cup game was played in Pullman this past Friday at Martin Stadium (it being named in honor of a former governor of Washington State, Clarence D. Martin (D) of Spokane). The Washington State University football team triumphed over the University of Washington’s team in overtime by a score of 31 to 28.