Kate Woods, legislative director for Congressman Doc Hastings in Washington, D.C., has accepted a position as vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council based in Yakima, Washington. She will start work in January after Hastings retires as Representative for Washington’s 4th Congressional District at the end of the legislative session.
Chris Schlect, president of the Hort Council, also announced other staff changes. Mark Powers, former vice president, was promoted to executive vice president earlier this year. With the recent retirement of Debbie Carter, Laura Grundenfelder has been promoted from science policy specialist to technical issues manager. Dr. Mike Willett remains vice president of scientific affairs.
The Hort Council is in the process of filling a new position of regulatory information specialist.
Schlect, who plans to retire in June of 2017, said the changes are part of a succession plan in which Powers would assume the title of president. Once the new people are in place, staff responsibilities will be allocated based on their interests and expertise.
Woods grew up on a family farm in Goldendale, Washington, and knows both the central Washington and mid-Columbia regions very well, Schlect said. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and print journalism in 2005 from American University in Washington, D.C., and began working for Hastings as an intern in 2003.
Schlect said she has expertise not only in legislative matters but in working with the media on crisis control issues.
“We’ve dealt with her for a number of years and think highly of her,” he said. “When Congressman Hastings announced his retirement, the idea came upon us that, if Kate was available, it made sense to accelerate our transition planning a little bit and get someone of her caliber on board so they could be fully up to speed and knowledgeable about the organization prior to my departure.”