Gov. Jay Inslee has named Karen Johnson director of the state’s new Office of Equity.
The office, created within the governor’s office, was established by the Legislature and signed into law by Inslee last year. It is charged with promoting “access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes statewide across state government.”
Johnson is currently the equity and inclusion administrator at the state Department of Corrections. She previously worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, managing equal opportunity employment programs, and served as director for Tri-Love Ministries in Seattle, the governor’s office said in a news release.
“We will work to develop a new state culture that centers equity in all of its work and provides all Washingtonians with an opportunity to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Johnson said in a statement.
Johnson also has served as adjunct faculty at The Evergreen State College, where she taught courses in dismantling racism and identifying bias in public service settings. She holds a Ph.D. and Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University, and earned her Bachelor of Science from Utica College of Syracuse University.
Her appointment, which is subject to confirmation by the state Senate, is effective March 8.