Jane Marie Swearingen Snowden Mayer, 62, a policy consultant and former head of Michigan's federal affairs office in Washington, died Oct. 17 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In 1980, Ms. Snowden joined the Michigan Human Resources Department, and later in that decade opened a federal affairs office for the department, eventually expanding it to represent the governor's office. In 1986 and 1987, she served as head of the Washington office and planning director for Michigan's human resources budget. From 1989 until 1991, she served in Michigan as human services adviser to Gov. James J. Blanchard.

Returning to Washington in 1991, she helped form the consulting firm of Snowden, Mayer & Associates, which specialized in human service and budget issues and worked primarily for Michigan-based clients.

As a Michigan official and as a consultant, she worked with that state's congressional delegation.

She also had been an adviser on human services to the National Governors' Conference.

Blanchard, after learning of her death, hailed her understanding of issues and ability to never lose sight of "what was truly important about public policy: improving people's lives."

Ms. Snowden, who lived in Chevy Chase, was a native of Illinois and attended Western Illinois University.

She began her career in 1966 as a rural caseworker with the Illinois Department of Public Aid and later become head of the department's social services unit and an aide to the department director.

Her marriage to Richard Snowden ended in divorce.

Survivors include her husband of 21 years, Richard Mayer of Chevy Chase; a daughter from her first marriage, Suzanne Snowden of Chesapeake, Va.; a stepdaughter, Rachel Mayer of Alameda, Calif.; her mother, Thelma Swearingen of Industry, Ill.; a brother; and a sister.