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Press Release: June 8, 2011

Diverse group of citizens to serve on Oregon’s boards and commissions

Senate approves 44 of Governor Kitzhaber’s executive appointments

(SALEM, Ore.) — With the Senate’s approval of an additional 44 executive appointments today, Governor John Kitzhaber has appointed 103 Oregonians from 17 counties to a variety of state Boards and Commissions that require senate confirmation and significantly increased the diversity of those serving the state .  

"Oregon works best when its citizens are engaged and active in its governance, and we are committed to ensuring that all Boards and Commissions reflect Oregon and the geographic, racial, and gender diversity of our state,” said Governor Kitzhaber.

Twenty-two percent of the Governor’s appointments to date are people of color; 44 percent are women. Appointees include a retail executive from Brookings for the Oregon Workforce Investment Board; a speech pathologist from Pendleton for the Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; an emergency center director from Bend for the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training.

Oregon’s Board and Commission members are vital participants in statewide decision-making and dedicated individuals participate in developing a wide variety of important governmental policies. Major issues range from consumer protection, economic development, education, conservation, and health care. Today’s appointments fill positions ranging from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to the Oregon Dentistry Board.

“This slate of appointees is a great example of how committed the Governor is to creating opportunities for all Oregonians to share their expertise, talents, and commitments in service to our state,” said Kendall Clawson, Director of Executive Appointments.

Expectations of Board or Commission service are varied and are based upon the needs, expectations, and policy goals of each Board or Commission. Most Board or Commission seats are volunteer positions and have an average expectation of approximately 10-15 hours of work per month.

Statistical Breakdown of Governor Kitzhaber’s Appointments:










People of Color






Oregon Counties Represented




Sample Appointees:

Holly Akenson
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Holly Akenson has been appointed to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. She is the Director of the Wallowa Mountain Institute and coordinates research and education programs for Wallowa Resources. Ms. Akenson graduated with honors from Eastern Oregon University with a BS in Biology and a BS in Education, received a Masters in Wildlife Resources from University of Idaho, and is a certified wildlife biologist. She previously worked for 13 years at the University of Idaho as the manager/scientist of Taylor Wilderness Research Station where she developed and coordinated field programs for university students and conducted carnivore and bighorn sheep research and long-term monitoring in the Idaho wilderness. Prior to that, Ms. Akenson had a wildlife consulting business in Northeast Oregon working with state and federal agencies and private landowners on wildlife and natural resources projects.

Michael Harper
OLCC Commission

Michael Harper has been appointed to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). Mr. Harper played basketball for the Portland Trailblazers and throughout Europe for six seasons in the 1980s. He has been a State Farm insurance agent for 20 years and operates his own agency in West Linn. In addition to his regulatory experience, Mr. Harper has been active in the community as a member of the Southwest Rotary and has served on the State Mortuary and Cemetery Board and the State of Oregon Commission on Children and Families. He prides himself on his commitment to youth programming and has raised thousands of dollars to support and protect children across the state.

Alberto Munguia
Tourism Commission

Alberto Munguia has been appointed to the Oregon Tourism Board. Mr. Munguia is the general manager of the Jupiter Hotel, a mid-century renovated motor inn turned boutique hotel in the heart of Portland. He has worked in the travel and tourism industry since the age of 20 and has worked in many major destinations, including San Francisco, San Diego, and Guadalajara, Mexico. Mr. Munguia has been successful in helping make Portland a unique destination for travelers from across the globe and looks forward to using his vast network to attract international visitors to the broad range of activities, hotels, restaurants, and events that the state of Oregon has to offer.

Dr. Julie Ann Smith
Dentistry Board

Dr. Julie Ann Smith, an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon at Oregon Health & Science University has been appointed to the Oregon Dentistry Board. Prior to her appointment at OHSU, Dr. Smith completed a seven-year tour of duty in the US Army, serving as clinical faculty at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She was also the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Residency program director for the National Capital Consortium. Dr. Smith’s surgical interests include orthognathic surgery, maxillofacial trauma and reconstructive surgery, head and neck pathology, dental implant surgery, as well as medically-compromised patients, with a special interest in caring for HIV patients.

Mari Watanabe
Commission on Asian Affairs

Mari Watanabe has been appointed to the Commission on Asian Affairs. Ms. Watanabe is the executive director of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, a Japanese American history museum and resource center in Portland. Ms. Watanabe is the Japanese American Leadership delegate for the US Japan Council, a member of the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon Advisory Board, and she has extensive experience in building development and business relationships for garment production in Asia, Turkey, Israel, Central America, and the US.

Media Contacts:
Christine Miles, 503-559-8795
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324

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