Gov. Jay Inslee today announced he is appointing Patricia Lashway, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Social and Health Services’ Services and Enterprise Support Administration, to serve as Acting Secretary of the 17,500-employee agency.
“This is a big job and I appreciate that Pat has agreed to put her many years of experience in social services, both inside and outside the Department, to help us through this transition,” Inslee said. “She is highly respected among her peers and brings tremendous institutional knowledge of the issues facing the Department.”
The Department touches the lives of more than 2.5 million of Washington’s most vulnerable residents each year through behavioral health and developmental disability services, aging and long-term care and child and family support, juvenile rehabilitation, and food and cash assistance.
Outgoing Secretary Kevin W. Quigley, who has served as DSHS Secretary since Inslee took office in 2013, announced his resignation January 5 and will depart the agency on Feb. 22. Lashway’s appointment will begin Feb. 23.
In her current position, Lashway is responsible for day-to-day management of the Department. Prior to that, she was the DSHS Senior Director of Policy and External Relations where she oversaw strategic development, legislative and policy initiatives.
Her career with DSHS began in 1988 at what was then the Aging and Disability Services Administration, where she served for almost nine years as the Director of Residential Care Services. Her team was responsible for developing a nationally recognized statewide complaint resolution and investigation unit that provided the foundation to serve all long-term care consumers in the state and their families.
Prior to state service she worked in the legal field and has spent her career, including overseas duty as a Peace Corps volunteer, working for expanded supports and services for low-income and vulnerable people of all ages and walks of life.
“This is a critical time for the Department, especially with the challenges surrounding mental health services, and I’m confident our team, with the support of the governor and legislature, will ensure we provide the critical services to those who need them,” said Lashway. “I look forward to this assignment and appreciate the confidence by both the governor and my colleagues.”
Lashway received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, a juris doctorate from Seattle University and is a member of the Washington State Bar Association.
A national executive search will begin next week for a new DSHS Secretary.