Biden administration appoints local recovery officer

After a short stint leading Snohomish County’s COVID recovery, Mike Fong will serve in the Small Business Administration.

Michael Fong

Michael Fong

EVERETT — Michael Fong, who was hired just a few months ago to oversee Snohomish County’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, is leaving for a job in President Joe Biden’s administration.

The White House announced Thursday that Fong will oversee the Small Business Administration’s Region 10, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

County officials knew Fong was in the running for the job when they hired him as the county’s chief recovery and resiliency officer. Before, he served as a senior deputy mayor for the City of Seattle.

Fong was responsible for deciding how to spend $160 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for the county.

“We figure four months of Mike Fong is better than no Mike Fong,” Snohomish County spokesperson Kent Patton said.

A replacement will likely be identified by mid-December, he added.

The White House announced seven appointees for the Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying they will be critical in rebuilding communities affected by the pandemic and climate change.

“They bring deep expertise in their issue areas as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal and local leaders,” a news release said. “And, consistent with the President’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.”

The announcement referenced Fong’s role as the first Chinese-American to serve as a deputy mayor for Seattle.

In his own statement, Fong said he was “deeply honored” by the appointment.

“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and this is an incredible opportunity to support their needs as part of our nation’s recovery from the pandemic,” Fong said. “Working under the leadership of SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, we will advance the Biden/Harris administration’s vision for a healthy, equitable and thriving economy for small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

County Executive Dave Somers said Fong’s change in positions will be good for Snohomish County.

“We are grateful that Michael has helped us organize and launch our Office of Recovery and Resilience,” Somers said. “We know he will continue to serve our community well for years to come.”

Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @yawclaudia.

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