"I love this job. It's wonderful. I've learned so much," said Matheson. She said she may stay in the retirement industry, which was new to her when she was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2005.
"I think it will depend on sort of what fits my life needs, because I've got to retire sometime too, right? In this kind of job, its not the kind where youre going to get reappointed," she said. "I needed something that wasnt so dependent on an election cycle."
Before coming here, Matheson was president of a health foundation and an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in south central Washington (Mark Sidran, who just left the UTC, was also a candidate-turned appointee). I asked if she was getting back into politics, and she just laughed and said she didn't think so.
She has offered to stick around until Gregoire can find a replacement, as she looks for a spot in a very spotty economy.
"It's a scary thing to do, the way I've done it," she said. "But really, some times the most amazing opportunities appear."
As for the department, education is the demand of the future, as todays retirees face issues they didn't expect, Matheson said. "When they near retirement, are they actually going to retire? Are they going to continue to work? Things factor in like health care benefits. Just trying getting a handle on what does retirement mean."
On a sidenote, Matheson's most newsworthy moment was not a scandal in retirement planning. In a very sad episode, her deputy director Gil Gilman disappeared mysteriously in 2006.