Public hearings planned on racial and ethnic categories

OLYMPIA - The Governor's Affirmative Action Policy Committee will hold a series of public hearings throughout the state over the next two months in an effort to determine how people in Washington State would like to be listed in the year 2000 federal census.

Robbi Ferron, who chairs the Governor's policy committee on affirmative action, encourages people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to attend hearings in their area and offer their views on how they would like to be listed in the federal census and other federal and state records.

"This is an opportunity for people to be heard," Ferron said. "Washington and other states are developing their recommendations for the next U.S. census, and Governor Lowry wants to make sure those recommendations reflect the feelings of the people who live here."

Ferron noted that some people have expressed dissatisfaction with the racial and ethic categories established by the federal Office of Management and Budget for federal reporting purposes. Currently, for example, federal and many state records do not include a "multi-racial" category, which some have argued would help to reflect the true identity of the nation's population. Others are concerned multi-racial designation will undermine Affirmative Action. Still others have proposed alternative titles for race and ethnicity to those currently used.

"The classifications used by the federal government have broad implications for public policy, including the administration of Affirmative Action and other programs," Ferron said. "These hearings will help us in developing recommendations to both the Governor, and to the federal government."

All six hearings currently scheduled are planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for the following dates and locations:


For more information, contact Jan Olmstead (360-753-1766) or Robbi Ferron (360-586-5344) at the Governor's Affirmative Action Policy Committee.