Gov. Jay Inslee appointed the former U.S. Small Business Administration Pacific Northwest Regional Administrator and Seattle Deputy Mayor to lead Commerce in April.
The Washington State Senate Business, Financial Services, Gaming and Trade Committee today confirmed by unanimous vote the appointment of Mike Fong to lead the Department of Commerce. A final confirmation vote by the full Senate will take place during the 2024 session which convened yesterday. Fong was appointed to the position by Gov. Jay Inslee in April 2023, succeeding Dr. Lisa Brown, now mayor of Spokane.
“In his first nine months on the job, Mike has shown that he is well-suited to lead the Department of Commerce’s team as they take on significant new opportunities to move Washington businesses and communities forward,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “From housing to clean energy to broadband expansion and helping secure federal funding, Mike is positioning the department to succeed.”
“I’m honored to have this opportunity to lead an outstanding Commerce team and join our many public and private partners across the state to address some of the state’s most pressing challenges,” Fong said. “Governor Inslee’s proposed 2024 supplemental budget reflects his commitment to continue and expand our work to meet emerging needs and ensure that state resources get to the communities with the highest need.”
Fong said his immediate priorities include:
- Meeting urgent needs around housing stability, affordability and preventing homelessness;
- De-carbonizing and market transformation related to climate change;
- Creating green jobs, supporting small businesses and enhancing our global competitiveness;
- Closing the digital divide in Washington’s rural and urban communities;
- Leveraging all avenues for securing generational investment opportunities from the federal government; and
- Working with Commerce’s many community partners to make meaningful investments.
Gov. Inslee has proposed a $1.2 billion dollar budget increase for Commerce, with $415 million in operating funds and $775 million in capital dollars for communities, including:
- Nearly $130 million to match federal programs on pollution reduction, clean tech development and clean jobs. This funding continues to position Washington as strong contenders for federal dollars.
- $100 million for Clean Energy Community Decarbonization for community-driven, neighborhood-scale clean energy projects in low income and overburdened communities
- $100 million for heat pump installation for low income households
- $2 million for a Tribal Clean Energy Center
- To meet the urgent needs around housing instability, $100 million to resolve homeless encampments quickly and bring our most vulnerable people indoors
- $3 million to continue housing support for human trafficking victims
- $2 million to expand security and support for religious and non-profit community centers who experience hate-inspired vandalism
- Additional funds to support communities in need of broadband and digital access
- Flexible emergency funds to support natural disaster relief and other emergencies impacting infrastructure, services or community health
- Funds for the continued operation of the Communities of Concern Commission
- State funding for the Equitable Recovery and Reconciliation Alliance (ERRA) to match federal Small Business Administration funding to strengthen and support Black, Indigenous, and BIPOC-owned small businesses
“Commerce is unique, in that everything we do is an investment in Washington state’s greatest asset: our people,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Whether it be meeting their basic needs of housing and safety, helping our businesses rebuild in a post-pandemic economy, or connecting seniors and low income households to the internet, our programs help people move forward and build strong and resilient communities.”
Learn more about the Washington State Department of Commerce at www.commerce.wa.gov.
Mobile/text: (360) 704-9489