Gov. Inslee appoints new head of Department of Licensing

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Teresa Berntsen as head of the Washington Department of Licensing.

Berntsen’s appointment was announced Thursday. She replaces Pat Kohler, who is stepping down at the end of June. Some Latino and community groups had been calling for Kohler’s removal following revelations in January that the agency was routinely sharing residents’ personal information with immigration-enforcement authorities. But in an April 27 resignation letter, Kohler said the loss of her brother has caused her to reevaluate her priorities.

Berntsen is currently the director of the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises. Previously, she served as deputy director of the Department of Licensing for more than four years. She also served as a policy adviser to former Gov. Chris Gregoire on statewide transportation issues.