Meet the GA Team
Meet the Government Affairs Team
This team of legislative professionals has the experience and skills essential for defending the hospitality industry from damaging legislation and promoting the regulations that make it easier to do business in Washington state.
Director of State Government Affairs
Julia Gorton leads the state advocacy program for the Washington Hospitality Association and is the point-person on several issues, including the Retrospective Rating program (RETRO) and the continued debate surrounding the state’s evolving liquor privatization issue. She is the No. 1 resource for members in the ongoing discussion with the Liquor Control Board on liquor pricing for restaurants and hotels. Julia obtained her B.A. in political science and social studies from Western Washington University in 2006 and has been a member of the WA Hospitality’s Government Affairs team since 2007. During her time at the Association, Julia has grown and strengthened the Grassroots Network. Julia also established the Association’s Ambassador training program, which gives members tools to communicate with their elected representatives.
Director of Local Government Affairs
John Lane is the Association’s first Director of Local Government Affairs. He steps into this new role after managing our local GA efforts for 18 months, working first on the Seattle Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Ordinance as well as restrictive scheduling and the city’s hotel initiative. He has a law degree from Seattle University and has extensive public policy experience, including serving as a Washington state assistant attorney general and as the Office of Financial Management’s legislative and legal counsel. John has also served as a senior policy advisor to Gov. Jay Inslee on public safety and government operations and as the executive policy advisor to Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Local Government Affairs Senior Manager
Anna Boone is the newest member of our team and comes to the Association with over a decade of experience in Washington politics. Most recently, she was at Gallatin Public Affairs, where she helped establish the firm’s local government affairs practice in Washington State and represented clients on regulatory and labor issues in front of local governments. Anna also has a political campaign background that includes running Congressman Norm Dicks’ 2010 reelection campaign.
State Government Affairs Manager
Morgan Hickel transitions in January 2017 from serving as the Association’s Seattle local government coordinator position to our State Government Affairs Manager. In her local GA role, she worked closely with restaurant and hotel members on issues ranging from Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and restrictive scheduling ordinances, the hotel initiative, and paid family leave. Morgan was also appointed to serve on the Seattle Labor Standards Advisory Commission in 2016. Her past experience includes working in the American Frozen Food Institute’s communications and government affairs department.Washington.
Local Government Coordinator
Samantha Louderback joined our GA team in 2015 to help expand the Association’s work on the local level. She has engaged both members and elected officials on a range of issues including minimum wage and paid sick leave (Tacoma), plastic bag bans (Tacoma and Ellensburg) and health department licensing fees (Tacoma). She has also monitored issues and worked with members in Bellingham and Spokane. She came to the Association from the contract lobbying firm Alliances Northwest.
Local Government Coordinator
Zach Lindahl joined the team in November of 2015 as the Local Government Coordinator of Spokane. He organizes Spokane Chapter meetings and outreach, works with members to establish good rapport with Spokane government officials and brings hoteliers and restaurant owners together. Zach is a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Political Science. His past experiences include interning under Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler as well as with Oyster Bay Public Affairs.
Communications Advocacy Manager
Stephanie McManus is responsible for marketing and communications programs on behalf of the GA team to external media and to members, informing them of GA activity on their behalf. She is also responsible for research and acts as a liaison between the Communications Department, Government Affairs and President/CEO. Stephanie originally worked with the Washington Hospitality Association during 2004-05, rejoining the staff in April 2014. Prior to returning to the Association, Stephanie was a public information officer in the Washington State House of Representatives, communications coordinator for the American Institute of Architects and a legislative liaison for the Washington Retail Association.
Local Communications Manager
Jillian Henze is responsible for developing and implementing local communications to advance the hospitality industry’s legislative, advocacy goals and objectives. She serves as the liaison between the communications and government affairs departments and works with both to develop and implement communications strategies. She keeps members informed of all local government affairs issues that could affect the industry and provides helpful resources. Jillian joined the team in April 2016. Prior to the WA Hospitality Association, she was the communications manager at the Hands On Children’s Museum, led a PR department at a boutique ad agency and was an investigative reporter and newspaper editor. Jillian has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Linfield College.
Local Communications Manager
Wendy Hughes joined our team in 2016 and has been Communication Department point-person for local government affairs issues outside of Seattle. She has worked closely with GA on Spokane’s paid leave legislation and provides support for Association events such as the Washington Lodging Convention and Hospitality Summits. Wendy Graduated with her degree in Integrated Strategic Communications and a minor in Hospitality Business Management from Washington State University. During her time in school, she was active in student government and lobbied for several higher education bills.