The Washington State Liquor Control Board announced today it has unanimously chosen Rick Garza to serve as its next agency director.
Garza, the agency’s deputy director, replaces Pat Kohler, who was recently appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to lead the Washington State Department of Licensing.
According to a press release from the liquor board, Garza has led the agency’s policy, legislation and media relations. He also serves as its legislative and tribal liaison. Garza has been with the Liquor Control Board since 1997.
“Rick was a clear and unanimous choice by the board,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “Rick’s leadership on policy, legislative and tribal matters has been instrumental to the agency’s successes. He is regarded by stakeholders and legislators as an expert on many issues and is frequently called upon to help find solutions to difficult challenges.”
Gov. Jay Inslee lauded the Board’s choice for agency director.
“I have known Rick for many years and I’m thrilled the board selected him to lead the agency,” said Inslee. “He is a creative leader and a team player and I have full confidence in his ability to lead the agency during this important time.”
The LCB is drafting the rules, along with Colorado, that will govern the world’s only comprehensive systems of growing, processing and retailing marijuana for recreational use. The agency expects to begin accepting license applications in September.
Prior to joining the Liquor Control Board, Rick served 13 years as a staff member for the Washington State Legislature, including five years with the Washington State Senate and eight years with the state House. His legislative assignments included policy analyst in the state Senate, House of Representatives staff director, and adviser to House and Senate leadership.