Initiative 1000, which will appear on Washington’s 2019 November ballot under Referendum 88 is an important policy that will restore fairness for veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color seeking to succeed in public employment, contracting, and university admissions – without the use of caps or quotas.
The Washington Fairness Campaign is a statewide coalition of community advocates, business owners, labor allies, and elected officials who are unified in the effort to approve I-1000 & R-88 on the November 2019 ballot, affirming the state legislature’s passage of I-1000 during the 2019 legislative session. Our campaign is led by former Governors Locke, Gregoire, and Evans, as well as leadership from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and Washington State Labor Council. Our steering committee includes representatives from Microsoft, the Greater Seattle Business Alliance, the ACLU of Washington, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and many more.
Why is the Approval of I-1000 / R-88 Important?
The 1998 passage of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 200 made Washington one of only two states in the nation to explicitly ban outreach to historically marginalized communities to help determine outcomes in public education, contracting, and employment. The Approval of I-1000 via Referendum 88 would allow Washington to rejoin the 42 other states in the country that hold themselves accountable to creating more equitable outcomes for all citizens. Since 1998, Washington’s most vulnerable communities have experienced serious and deleterious consequences with respect to access of public resources and educational opportunities:
- According to the Washington’s Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprises, since the passage of I-200, state spending with certified minority and woman-owned businesses has dropped from 10% to 3%, resulting in a devastating $3.8 billion, 20-year loss of revenue.
- Since I-200 passed, diversity in Washington’s public university and college populations has declined in proportion to the population as a whole. The number of Black, Native-American, and Pacific Islander students enrolled in all four-year public universities has decreased statewide.
How Would Approving I-1000/ R-88 Create Opportunities for all Washingtonians Succeed?
The Approval of I-1000/ R-88 would begin the process of reversing the inequitable trends resulting from the passage I-200. More economic opportunities would be afforded to veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color through public employment and contracting. The population of Washington’s public universities would begin to better reflect the state as a whole. Finally, the passage of I-1000/ R-88 sends a critical message about how our shared values and beliefs should be codified into state law. We can take tangible, collective action to level the playing field for working families with the most urgent unmet needs, and we should strive to make Washington a place where someone’s race, ethnicity, gender, or other status isn’t a generational determinant of their ability to thrive or share equitably in the prosperity afforded to our region.