Gov. Jay Inslee today appointed attorney Michelle Gonzalez to direct Washington’s new Women’s Commission, which will advise the governor, the Legislature and state agencies on issues important to women.
Gonzalez currently serves in the Governor’s Office as a special adviser, helping state agencies comply with the governor’s executive order that affirms and clarifies Washington’s policies for state agencies that provide services to immigrant and refugee communities. Michelle Gonzalez also teaches at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and is former assistant dean of UW’s School of Law.
The nine-person Women’s Commission, created by the Legislature this year, aims to improve the well-being of women by identifying and developing policies to address critical issues affecting women, such as domestic violence, child care and support, sexual harassment, equal compensation, access to government services, and barriers for women of color.
“During her time in my office, Michelle has been working tirelessly to safeguard our fellow Washingtonians from discriminatory immigration practices,” Inslee said. “Her legal expertise, as well as her experience supporting diversity and championing women’s rights, make her an ideal person to lead this new commission in its important work.”
Prior to her time at UW, Gonzalez practiced law for Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has also served as board president of the Northwest Justice Project, on the legal committee for the Northwest Women’s Law Center (Legal Voice), and on the judicial evaluation committee for the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington.
Gonzalez has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies at Occidental College.
Gonzalez will spend the next few weeks developing a transition strategy for her adviser role at the Governor’s Office, including working with community partners and staff on a plan to ensure the work continues.
Her appointment to the commission is effective in July.
A portrait of Gonzalez is available here.