Governor's Poverty Reduction Work Group

Living in poverty can become a self-perpetuating cycle that affects generations. To address this challenge, the governor in 2017 created the Poverty Reduction Work Group. The group is tasked with developing a strategic plan to reduce poverty, improve communities and make needed progress related to housing, health integration, employment and education.

Interim Progress Report (October 2018)


See all members, listed alphabetically 

  • Amina Ahmed*, Executive Director, Partner in Employment (*Passed away Dec. 2018)
  • Jim Baumgart, Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor
  • Luba Bezborodnikova, Assistant Secretary of Licensing, Department of Children, Youth, and Families
  • Sue Birch, Director, Health Care Authority
  • Sarah Buhayar, Deputy Director, Pacific Northwest, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gary Chandler, Vice President Government Affairs, Association of Washington Business
  • Olympia City Councilmember Jim Cooper, President & CEO, United Ways of the Pacific Northwest
  • Senator Manka Dhingra, State Senate Democratic Caucus
  • Eu-wanda Eagans, Senior Vice President of Workforce Development, Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region 
  • Colleen Echohawk, Executive Director, Chief Seattle Club
  • Larry Eyer, Executive Director, Washington State Community Action Partnership
  • Cheryl Fambles, Chief Executive Officer, PacMtn Workforce Development Council
  • Erin Frasier, Policy Associate, Workforce Education, State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
  • Nova Gattman, Legislative Director, Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board
  • Claude Green, Senior Project Director, Mentor Washington
  • James Harms, Reentry Systems Administrator, Department of Corrections
  • Drayton Jackson, Co-Chair, PRWG Steering Committee 
  • Lonnie Johns-Brown, Legislative Director, Policy and Legislative Affairs, Office of Insurance Commissioner
  • Mona Johnson, Director of Student Support, Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction
  • Hien Kieu, Executive Director, Partner in Employment
  • Diane Klontz, Assistant Director, CSHD, Department of Commerce
  • Councilmember Nickolaus Lewis, Lummi Nation
  • Juanita Maestes, Board President, Statewide Poverty Action Network
  • Sandra Miller, Workforce Development Manager, Washington Hospitality Assn. Education Foundation
  • Erin Monroe, President & CEO, Workforce Snohomish
  • Nam Nguyen, Commissioner, Commission on Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs
  • Daisye Orr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategy, Prevention and Community Health Division, Department of Health
  • Sharon Pesut, Executive Director, Partners in Careers
  • Dona Ponepinto, President & CEO, United Way of Pierce County
  • Ed Prince, Executive Director, Commission on African American Affairs
  • Tim Probst, Director, Workforce Development Strategic Initiatives, Executive Programs, Employment Security Department
  • Michael Reichert, President & CEO, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington
  • Maria Sigüenza, Executive Director, Commission on Hispanic Affairs
  • David Stillman, Assistant Secretary, ESA, OAS, Department of Social and Health Services
  • Neil Strege, Vice President, Washington Business Roundtable
  • Marisol Tapia Gonzales, Senior Programs Manager, Puget Sound Training Center
  • Traci Underwood, MSW Program Coordinator, Economic Justice, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Julie Watts, Deputy Director, Washington State Budget & Policy Center
  • Jan Wichert, Director, Employee and Resident Services, Vancouver Housing Authority
  • Christina Wong, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, Northwest Harvest 
  • Senator Hans Zeiger, Senator, Senate Republican Caucus

Past Meetings

February 27, 2018

March 28, 2018

April 19, 2018

May 17, 2018

June 21, 2018

July 19, 2018

August 16, 2018

September 20, 2018

November 15, 2018

December 20, 2018

January 17, 2019

February 21, 2019

March 21, 2019

April 18, 2019


See a collection of articles and reports related to the work of the PRWG.