(The Post Millennial) – Washington state Democrat Governor Jay Inslee announced last week that through an executive order he will be rescinding the state’s ban on affirmative action, ignoring the will of Washington state voters who voted to reject the initiative in 2019.
The executive order will allow state hiring, contracting, and education to hire based upon affirmative action as means to “diversify” the state government, rescinding the 20-year-old ban.
In 2019, Washington state residents voted to reject Referendum 88 in a 50 to 49 percent vote. Referendum 88 acted as a veto referendum that was designed to require a statewide vote on Initiative 1000 which was approved by the state’s legislature in April 2019.
Washington Initiative 1000 was designed to allow affirmative action policies by the state of Washington in the areas of public education, public employment, and public contracting as long as such policies do not constitute preferential treatment (as defined) and do not use quotas.
Inslee released a statement on Monday and said that his executive order will work to achieve equity in government institutions, which received praise from other state officials including Seattle’s new Democrat Mayor Bruce Harrell.
Today, as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am taking action to change how we achieve equity within the law in our state by rescinding Directive 98-01.https://t.co/0Upsac2d32
Details here: https://t.co/XOEizEjLv3
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) January 18, 2022
“Today, as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am taking action to change how we achieve equity within the law in our state. Achieving equal opportunity has always been foundational to our country’s history and each of us bears the responsibility to stand up and keep this unalienable right for all Washingtonians. Everyone deserves a fair chance to live to the fullest — everyone,” Inslee said.
Adding, “This the first step toward transforming state government into one that embeds equity and justice into our state culture, into our DNA, so everyone has a fair shot to achieve their dream and the dream Dr. King held for each of us.”
Harrell applauded the governor’s decision to ignore the will of the voters and said he will be announcing a similar executive order for Seattle.
“I applaud Governor Inslee for taking the right and necessary step of rescinding this restrictive directive and issuing a new executive order that centers equity and opportunity,” Harrell said.
“I’ve directed my staff to develop our own executive order focused on strengthening and increasing opportunities for businesses owned by women, veterans, LGBTQ+ neighbors, and communities of color. In partnership with efforts from Governor Inslee and the Office of Equity, I know Seattle can accomplish this holistically — meaning not only signing more contracts — but also by seeking out ways to mentor and support entrepreneurs and small businesses, streamline certification requirements, and ensure comprehensive, inclusive and robust RFP processes. Seattle and Washington state must be places where any person — regardless their background — feels encouraged to pursue their dreams with the support to succeed and thrive,” Harrell explained.
Despite a show of support, Inslee’s executive order was not well-recepited by most, including conservative talk-radio host John Carlson on 570 KVI.
“A governor cannot strike down a state law passed by the Legislature and passed into law by a previous governor or passed by the people, with an executive order,” Carlson said. “If he wants to take a run at Initiative 200 and replace color blind equality with a system of different rules for different races, let’s have it out.”
“I can’t think of a better place to do it than in the November midterms,” Carlson added.