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Matthew Randazzo, who was involved in wildlife and conservation issues while he lived in Port Angeles, has been on the job in Olympia as Goldmark's special assistant, reporting directly to the public lands commissioner, for about two months.
“The Olympic Peninsula is a very important landscape” for DNR, Goldmark said.
The region represents between 350,000 and 400,000 acres out of the 3 million acres of state trust lands DNR manages statewide to produce timber harvest revenue for such beneficiaries as public schools and universities.
It also is home to several endangered species and, given the many rivers and other streams, has a variety of riparian issues.
“I knew [Randazzo] would make a good contribution here to the operation of DNR,” Goldmark said.
“He understands the balance between resource conservation and resource utilization.”
Statewide trust lands management results in about $200 million annually, according to DNR.
At the same time, timber harvesting must be balanced against conservation of those areas that are required under the state Habitat Conservation Plan, Goldmark said, adding that land must be “creatively managed for both the protection of resources and timber harvest.”
Randazzo, 29, researches and writes about breaking issues — which may have to do with anything from land acquisition to aquatic lands to forest issues or firefighting — and goes to the state Legislature.
“Matthew's position is to work with me on issues I assign him to address,” said Goldmark, adding that Randazzo has knowledge of a broad array of issues.
Randazzo and his wife, Melissa — who works as development director for First Step Family Support Center — moved to the North Olympic Peninsula in 2006.
He served on the board and as volunteer public relations director for the nonprofit Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center in Sequim for a few years and worked as development director for the nonprofit North Olympic Land Trust from June 2011 through March 2012, followed by three months as a consultant.
He remains vice president of the board of the nonprofit Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks.
Randazzo served as chairman of the Clallam County Democratic Party from January 2011 to January of this year, though he had taken a leave of absence from April through December last year while he worked as communications director on the Olympic Peninsula for Derek Kilmer during the 6th Congressional District representative's successful election campaign for the area that includes Clallam and Jefferson counties.
A book author, Randazzo has written Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit and the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry, which is in pre-production for a motion picture; and co-authored Mr. New Orleans and Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia, the latter of which has been optioned by Fox for a network television series and was the basis for a Discovery Channel documentary.
“Though I never wanted to leave the Olympic Peninsula, which to me is the most beautiful place on Earth, I could not pass up such a great opportunity to make a difference on environmental, economic and public policy issues I care about deeply,” Randazzo said.
“Serving in the Commissioner of Public Lands' Office and on the executive management team of Department of Natural Resources is a dream come true for me,” he added.