Politics & Government

Former Gregoire aide returns to lobby

Cindy Zehnder, the former chief of staff to Gov. Chris Gregoire, is headed back to the Capitol, this time as a government-affairs director with lobbyist duties.

Zehnder took a job with Tacoma-based Gordon Thomas Honeywell, the governmental-affairs firm that partners with a law firm of the same name. She starts this week and said Tuesday that she will provide consultation and strategic communication advice, “but certainly lobbying is going to be part of it.’’

Al Ralston, a former Boeing lobbyist who more recently worked for the Municipal Research Council, also joined Gordon Thomas as a vice president who will do some lobbying in Congress.

“I am being hired as a vice president, and I will be managing their state operations as well as building my own client portfolio,’’ Zehnder said. Some clients she’s already going to represent are the Cascade Water Alliance and Northwest Energy Efficiency Council.

Zehnder worked two years in Gregoire’s office until last fall. She previously had roles as the leader of TVW, the public affairs network; a University of Washington regent; a House chief clerk, and the deputy commissioner of the Employment Security Department.