Here in Washington, diversity is a community value that is reflected in our laws, government and culture. Governor Chris Gregoire believes that diversity gives our state a wide base of strengths and knowledge on which to build Washington’s future.

Protecting our civil rights

Governor Gregoire signed historic civil rights legislation that protects Washington citizens from discrimination in housing, employment, insurance, and credit transactions based on sexual orientation. The new law affirms that discrimination is not a Washington value and represents a step toward a society that is free of discrimination.

Governor Gregoire believes that state government must not discriminate against any of its citizens in bestowing rights and responsibilities.

Valuing our immigrants

Our state’s economy relies on the contributions of every community and Governor Gregoire has taken steps to help legal immigrants participate as fully as possible. She expanded Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs at community and technical colleges to open opportunities for bilingual students. She also became the first governor in the nation to simulcast her “State of the State” address in Spanish.

Governor Gregoire issued an executive order to create Washington’s New Americans Policy Council to make recommendations on how to better integrate New Americans into Washington State. The Council’s “A Plan for Today, A Plan for Tomorrow” report details strategies to help legal permanent residents become naturalized, improve English language skills, and transfer skills, certificates and credentials earned in other countries into Washington’s economy. Governor Gregoire will continue to work with the volunteer members of the Council, the Department of Social and Health Services and OneAmerica to determine how to implement their strategies.

Honoring our heritage

Governor Gregoire believes that ethnic and racial diversity vastly contributes to Washington’s rich cultural heritage and identity. Working with local officials, she signed legislation in 2005 to officially name King County after the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to encourage school districts to teach Native American history.

Governor Gregoire supported funding for The Urban League Village at Colman School, which houses the new Northwest African American Museum. She also supported the Wing Luke Museum’s capital campaign for its new home in the International District showcasing Asian American history.

Developing diversity

Governor Gregoire doubled the Linked Deposit Program’s ability to make low-interest loans to women- and minority-owned businesses. She also instructed state agencies to find new ways to encourage women- and minority-owned businesses to compete for state contracts.

Because diversity is as important in the workplace as it is in the community, the Governor has selected a diverse staff within her office. Her cabinet appointments and board and commission selections are some of the most diverse in state history.

Building a better future for Washington families

Governor Gregoire will continue to work to protect diversity in Washington. In 2006, she created the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities. She successfully pressed the federal government to preserve the Urban Indian Health Clinics in our state. Governor Gregoire stands firm behind her pledge to encourage tolerance and prevent discrimination in all forms.