Gregoire touts diversity but fails to model it



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Chris Gregoire lists “diversity” as one of the primary initiatives of her administration, but minorities remain underrepresented in her office.

Gregoire’s entire senior staff is white and her cabinet of 26 only has two people of another race. By comparison, minorities now account for more than one-quarter of Washington state residents. Seven of Gov. Gary Locke’s 27 cabinet secretaries were minorities in 2004.

Minorities account for just 18 percent of state employees as a whole, and only 16 percent among managers.

Gregoire spokesman Scott Whiteaker says the governor understands the importance of diversity and has placed an emphasis on minority recruitment and retention. Supporters of diversity in state government believe an expanded minority presence would help officials better understand and work with the people they serve.