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Oregon First Lady Had Dealings With Washington Officials

Cylvia Hayes
Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Cylvia Hayes

Cylvia Hayes attended meetings with Washington state officials in her capacity as First Lady of Oregon.

In 2013, Hayes attended four events with Washington state officials where something called the Genuine Progress Indicator was discussed. GPI is an alternative to gross domestic product that also takes into account a state’s social and environmental health.

One of those meetings was in the office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

The governor didn’t attend, but Wendy Korthuis-Smith, who directs Inslee’s Results Washington program, did. What Korthuis-Smith didn’t know at the time is that, according to several news reports, Hayes had a contract to advocate for GPI.

Korthuis-Smith says had she been aware of the contract: “I probably would have maybe looked at the questions or the comments or the discussion with a little bit more scrutiny.”

But she says Hayes did not put on a “heavy push” for GPI in that meeting, and there was no product or service Hayes was trying to sell the state of Washington.

The Inslee administration now uses both GPI and GDP as measurements of the state’s health.

Governor Inslee’s office says Cylvia Hayes also attended three meetings in 2013 and 2014 where Washington state officials were present pertaining to the Pacific Coast Collaborative – a partnership of West Coast states and British Columbia to pursue joint strategies to fight carbon pollution.

A spokesman for Governor Inslee says Hayes was there in her role as First Lady and primarily advocated for ocean health.

It’s been reported that Hayes signed a contract in 2013 with Resource Media to promote ocean and marine health as part of the Pacific Coast Collaborative. Governor Inslee’s office says it was unaware of that contract.

An Inslee spokesman also notes that Hayes never did any work for the state of Washington nor did she ever have a contract with the state.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Austin Jenkins
Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."