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Inside Olympia — Dr. Karen Johnson, WA Office of Equity

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In 2020, the Washington Legislature passed a bill paving the way for creation of an entirely new state agency: the Washington State Office of Equity.

In February 2021, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Dr. Karen Johnson to be the inaugural director of the new office. The Office of Equity is responsible for, among other things, creating a five-year equity plan for the state. Since being chosen to stand up the new office, Dr. Johnson has been meeting with people and agencies throughout state government, listening, defining and refining the mission of the office, and developing a plan for the future.

In addition, the State Office of Equity recently hosted the 2022 Governor’s Equity Summit in Tacoma, which attracted 1,000 attendees and sought to further the equity focus in Washington.

This week on Inside Olympia, host Austin Jenkins sits down for the full hour with Dr. Johnson to see how the work is going — as the state seeks to bridge opportunity gaps, reduce disparities, and promote equity in public contracting, education, employment and state government services.