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The Department, or Office of (Diversity), Equity, and Inclusion was one of Gov. Inslee's pet projects over the last few years, now it appears the state has fired the very first office director.

Office Director was let go by the administration

According to, AM 770 KTTH's Jason Rantz, and a report from the state, Dr. Karen Johnson was let go this week.

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Rantz reported the news on his radio show on KTTH, and according to a statement released by Mike Faulk of the Governor's office she was let go because of:

“high vacancy rates, high employee turnover, and budgetary concerns,” as well as a “lack of stability.”

Dr. Johnson was placed in the position when the office was formed in March of 2021. According to more of Faulk's statements:

 “We remain committed to the work and the success of this office moving forward. We determined this will require new leadership.”

 The Office of Equity had been created in theory earlier, but funding was cut during COVID. Its initial cost to taxpayers was around $26 million dollars. The function of the office is basically to look at all state policies, departments, and procedures through the equity lens, according to the office's website:

"The Washington State Office of Equity exists to facilitate policy and systems change to promote equitable policies, practices, and outcomes to streamline our service delivery and improve the customer experience through:

  1. Agency decision making
  2. Community involvement
  3. Technical assistance and training to agencies 
  4. Maintaining data and establishing performance metrics. 
  5. Accountability"

The office's website also has this as part of its mission statement:

  • "As the demographics of our state change, historically and currently marginalized communities still do not have the same opportunities to meet parity as their nonmarginalized counterparts across nearly every measure including education, poverty, employment, health, and more.
  • Inequities based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other characteristics continue to be deep, pervasive, and persistent, and they come at a great economic and social cost."

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