Gov. John  Kitzhaber has named Kendall Clawson, a key aide in his office, as his pick be the new director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

"The governor has recommended Kendall to the chair of OLCC," says Tim Raphael, Kitzhaber's spokesman.  "He thinks her leadership skills and vision are exactly what the agency needs."

Clawson, 48, is currently Kitzhaber's executive appointments secretary, responsible for vetting candidates for state boards and commissions. She also served as Kitzhaber's advisor on arts and culture. 

Before joining Kitzhaber's staff, Clawson served as executive director of the Q Center in Portland from 2007 to 2011.

The former OLCC, director, Steve Pharo, retired last fall after Kitzhaber unsuccessfully tried to push him out of his job. Even though the five-member commission is appointed by the governor, its members have proven unusually independent and not just in their unwillingness to get rid of Pharo. Just last week, the commission rejected a 25-cent-per-bottle of liquor tax increase that the governor and legislative leaders requested.

Raphael noted the final decision on whether Clawson gets the job rests with the five commissioners.

"It's their hire," Raphael says. "They are scheduled to meet at the end of the month."