Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) issued his first executive order Wednesday morning and established a “One Minnesota Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity,” which he will oversee.
“In an effort to include voices from all different backgrounds, the order builds on a council formed by Gov. Mark Dayton, expanding its scope to address geographic diversity as well as important considerations around equity in Minnesota,” Walz’s office said in a press release.
During a Wednesday press conference, Walz was joined by his commissioners of the departments of Administration, Human Rights, and Management and Budget, The Pioneer Press reports. He was also joined by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, whom Walz said plays an important role in his administration’s emphasis on diversity.
“We want all backgrounds to know we are here to listen,” Flanagan said. “Minnesota does really well for some folks, but not for all folks.”
Walz explained that the new council will influence several key decisions in his administration, including policy and spending proposals. Specifically, the council will “develop a long-range plan to identify barriers to success, metrics for measuring progress, and recommendations to achieve the council’s goals,” the executive order states.
“Our state must be a leader in ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to thrive. Disparities in Minnesota, including those based on race, geography, and economic status, keep our entire state from reaching its full potential,” the executive order continues, labeling “diversity, inclusion, and equity” as “essential core values and top priorities.”
After signing the order, Walz said he could relate to Minnesotans who feel geographically excluded, saying he knows the “distance from the Capitol can seem far.”
The executive order also scraps the commonly-used language of “whereas” and “therefore” because, according to Walz, it’s “not readable by most people.”
“We want people to be included enough that they can pick up an executive order, anything we put out from this office, and understand what it means for them,” Walz said.
Walz’s executive order comes a day after Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on “gender identity or expression” in state agencies.
– – –
Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tim Walz” by Tim Walz.
Background Photo “Tim Walz Signing Bill” by Minnesota Senate DFL.