Gov. Inslee to oust former Congressman Baird from education council

After less than a year of service, Southwest Washington’s former Congressman Brian Baird is being replaced as chair of the recently-created Washington Student Achievement Council, according to media reports.

Baird was appointed for the position by former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, but Gov. Jay Inslee has decided to replace some of the group’s members with his own appointees. Inslee’s decision has drawn media attention.

In an opinion piece published in The Seattle Times, Lynne Varner asks:

“What went wrong so quickly? Former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird of Vancouver seemed a capable chairman of the board filled with boldfaced names.  Inslee is replacing Baird and others appointed by former Gov. Chris Gregoire just last summer. The appointees had expected to serve until 2015 and 2016.”

The achievement council is a cabinet-level state agency formed in July. It is made up of nine members who are unpaid. The group’s task is to develop a 10-year road map for higher education, including recommendations for initiatives and resources needed to increase educational attainment.

Baird visited Clark County in February, meeting with prominent educators to discuss the council’s goals. The Columbian’s education reporter Susan Parrish reported at that time that Baird had already invested 700 hours of his time working on the council.

The decision wasn’t personal, Inslee’s spokeswoman, Jaime Smith, said by email.

“This is not any statement about the council members or the Council’s performance,” Smith wrote. “Higher education and creating a seamless (pre-kindergarten to college) system is a big priority for the Governor, and he wants to make sure he’s appointed people who share his vision and goals.”

Inslee hasn’t decided yet who he’ll appoint to replace the outgoing council members, Smith said.

UPDATE 4/12/13: Here are more details about Baird leaving his post. Baird is quoted as saying:

“It’s a substantial disappointment to have worked so hard, to have made some very positive contributions and to be moving toward some very constructive recommendations, and then to have that stopped in mideffort. It’s frustrating.”

Stevie Mathieu

Stevie Mathieu

Stevie Mathieu is a political writer at The Columbian. Contact her at 360-735-4523 or or or

Scroll to top