Seth Brickey, at 20, is quickly making a name for himself in state politics.

Gov. Inslee Continues to Impress With Native Appointments

Richard Walker

You might want to remember this name: Seth Brickey. The Juneau Inupiat has interned for Alaska State Rep. Beth Kerttula, won national awards for his knowledge of the ocean sciences, received scholarships for academics and leadership, and served as president of the board of directors of a state youth court. He spends his summers working with youth at a camp in Haines. In August, he’ll attend his first meeting as a governor-appointed member of a university board of trustees.

Here’s the kicker: Brickey, a Western Washington University senior majoring in political science, is only 20. “Western has given me so many opportunities for personal growth. It’s amazing the support I’ve received,” he said. “I want to use the opportunities I’ve gained to give back to Western.”

Brickey was appointed on July 21 by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to a one-year term as a student member of the Western Washington University Board of Trustees. According to the governor’s office, Brickey will represent all citizens of Washington, but will also provide a student viewpoint on the board. His term will expire June 30, 2016.

Brickey is a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society; is an All Nations Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar and a WWU Marine Science Scholar; and a recipient of the WWU Native American Academic and Leadership Scholarship. During the upcoming academic year, he will serve as an assistant resident director with WWU Residence Life. He is active in WWU Campus Christian Fellowship.

Inslee called Brickey “an outstanding student leader who will provide a valuable perspective to the Board of Trustees. I appreciate his willingness to work on behalf of students to ensure they continue to receive the excellent education for which Western is so well known.”

Bruce Shepard, the university’s president, said of Brickey, “Western has been fortunate to have a strong tradition of student leaders serve on the Board of Trustees. With his impressive leadership experience and unique perspective on Western, Seth Brickey will be an excellent representative for students and a valuable addition to the board.”

Brickey plans to become involved in politics and government in Alaska, Meanwhile, he wants to use his experience to-date to help young people become forward-thinkers and get excited about education. He wants young people in Alaska’s small communities to know that, no matter the circumstances, opportunities are out there.

In an announcement released by Inslee’s office, Brickey said, “I have been proud to be counted a member of the Western community, and hope that alongside the other distinguished trustees I might help to perpetuate Western Washington University’s legacy of academic excellence.”

Brickey is one of two appointments this month that boost Native American representation on state boards in Washington. Inslee appointed Wendy Lawrence, housing director for the Makah Nation, to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. She was influential in the Makah Nation’s 51-acre mixed-use, mixed-income housing development called Sail River Heights. It includes the Sail River Longhouse, which opened last summer with 21 apartments of supportive housing for very low-income homeless families.

Wendy Lawrence was appointed to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

Lawrence has represented the Makah Nation and Northwest Tribes on the executive committee of the Northwest Indian Housing Association since 2006. She served on the National American Indian Housing Council board of directors from 2007-12, and chaired the council’s Legislative Committee. In 2007, she was voted Housing Director of the Year by her peers. She joined the housing finance commission on July 23.

According to the agency, in its 30 years, the commission has created and preserved affordable homes for more than 307,000 people across the state, contributing more than $42.5 billion and 240,000 jobs to the economy.

Gov. Inslee has appointed Native Americans to several key positions in the state. Maia Bellon, Mescalero Apache, is director of the state’s Department of Ecology and is the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency in Washington State.

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