Rhonda Whiting, a Montana member and vice chair of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, assumed the chairmanship of the four-state energy and fish and wildlife planning agency this month, taking the place of Oregon member Joan Dukes who resigned at the end of July. Whiting also previously served as chair of the Council’s public affairs committee and also chaired the Fish and Wildlife Committee for a number of years. Whiting is the first woman from Montana to chair the Council and is also the first Native American to serve in the position.
Whiting, from St. Ignatius, Montana and a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, was vice president of communications and intergovernmental affairs for Salish and Kootenai Technologies, the largest information technology company in Montana, before being appointed by Governor Brian Schweitzer to the Council. In 1998 she was appointed by President Clinton to oversee 17 tribal business information centers across the nation, and she also has operated her own communications consulting firm. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in education, and a law degree, all from the University of Montana.
To replace Whiting as vice chair, the Council elected Oregon member Bill Bradbury. Whiting and Bradbury will serve as the Council’s chief officers until the Council next elects officers in January 2013.
Bradbury was appointed to the Council in 2010. He has long been involved in Oregon politics and environmental issues affecting the state. He has served as an elected official, both as Oregon’s Secretary of State and as a member of the Oregon Senate, where he was Senate President. He directed the non-profit organization For the Sake of the Salmon, during which he worked with Northwest Native American tribes; federal, state, and local governments; and timber, agriculture, and fishing interests.
Dukes was replaced on the Council by Pendleton attorney Henry Lorenzen. He has served as chair of the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, as a member and president of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, and as a member of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Lorenzen holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University and is a licensed professional electrical engineer. He also has a master’s of business administration from Harvard University, and a law degree from the Lewis and Clark Law School.