OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky today announced plans to retire from state service and return to her longtime home in Colville. Selecky informed Gov. Jay Inslee of her plans this week, and has agreed to stay on until a new secretary of health is found.
Selecky has served three governors since first being appointed "acting secretary" by Gov. Gary Locke in October 1998. Her nearly 15 years as Washington's secretary of health make her one of the longest serving state health leaders in the country. Before being named secretary, Selecky was the administrator for the Northeast Tri County Health District in our state for nearly 20 years, and marks 38 years in public service this year.
"Public health affects every person in our state. I'm especially proud of the great progress we've made lowering smoking rates and getting more kids vaccinated. We'll have a healthier future because of it," said Secretary Selecky. "It has truly been an honor to serve the people of Washington and to work with such dedicated state, local, and tribal public health professionals."
Under Selecky's leadership, Washington's adult smoking rate has dropped 30 percent, and youth smoking rates are down by half; childhood vaccination rates are the highest in years.
"Thanks to Mary, Washington is a healthier place to live and raise a family," said Gov. Inslee. "I thank her for her valuable service to the people of our state and wish her all the best as she returns to the beautiful town of Colville."
Secretary Selecky has committed to continuing to lead the Department of Health until a successor is found.