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Oregon League of Minority Voters - Liberty & Hope Award Dinner/Civil Rights Courage Award

May 31, 2012

Good evening and thank you to Promise King and the Oregon League of Minority Voters for this esteemed honor.

Receiving this award affirms our intentional work to create a state government that more representative, more inclusive, and more responsive. And it is important validation of our commitment to transformational changes that lead all Oregonians to a more prosperous future.

We’re mindful of the fact this is ongoing work. Still, within the first 18 months of my administration, we have seen both hard data and attitudinal shifts that demonstrate we are on the right path. For example, in the most recent round of appointments to Boards and Commissions, we successfully appointed people of color in 30 percent of the positions. Thirty-two percent of appointees were women.

In 2011, our workforce hiring rate for people of color was 16 percent. Between 2010 and 2011, state contracts awarded to Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses increased from $19 million to $31 million – a 62 percent year-over-year increase.

Much work lies ahead, but I like the trends I’m seeing and the direction we are headed.

Something that doesn’t show up in the numbers but serves as an example of organizational change was our ability to assemble agency heads from 25 of the largest agencies statewide to create a platform to exchange ideas and collaborate on Diversity and Inclusion efforts.

We meet every few months to talk about policies and outcomes, and Agency Heads report back to their own leadership teams. It’s been a good process for us at the state, showing once again that engagement and input are essential to cultivating more inclusive workplace cultures.

As for what you are doing, I want to thank you for your leadership in promoting respect for all individuals, collaborating and partnering on our efforts to improve Oregon’s education and health care systems, and lending your expertise and talents as we work to build a more enduring prosperity for all Oregonians.

In that spirit, let’s all remember that we are here today to ensure that every single child in our state – regardless of their color, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, regardless of their home language, regardless of how much money their family makes – has an equal opportunity and, in fact, a certainty of achieving a productive place in Oregon society in the 21st century.

Thank you.​

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