All The President’s Seattleites

Locke, Sims, Kerlikowske. We’ve got one more.

By James Ross Gardner February 27, 2009

President Obama is quickly filling his administration with Washington Staters. Former Governor Gary Locke as commerce secretary, King County Exec Ron Sims as deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske as Drug Czar

Now, thanks to ace Seattle Met correspondent Jill Watanabe, we’ve got another name you may be hearing soon. Bill Marler gained semi-fame as a food safety litigator back in ’93 when he dinged Jack in the Box for $15.6 million for an E. coli case, and has since earned the wrath of Wendy’s, Sizzler, and KFC for similar food safety offenses.

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Watanabe interviewed the food-fighting, chin-cradling Marler (pictured at left) for an upcoming story for the print edition of Seattle Metropolitan and discovered that the Seattle lawyer is being considered for under secretary of the FDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service agency. “After Obama got elected,” Marler told Watanabe, “I wrote an open letter [to the new under secretary of FSIS]. Then I started getting calls from people in and out of government, saying ‘You have to fill out these forms.’"

Now Marler awaits Obama’s decision, presumably while visiting restaurants and asking diners if they’re sure they aren’t feeling just a little bit queasy.

For her part, Watanabe wouldn’t be surprised if Marler got the gig: "With a network of 15 blogs, maintained by Marler and his staff, which now includes a resident epidemiologist, over 2,000 followers on Twitter, and—get this—his own widget, this pathogen prosecutor is a veritable publicity machine."

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