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THE COMMISSIONERS

The Human Rights Commission is composed of five members appointed by the Governor. The Commissioners provide policy direction for the agency, adopt agency regulations, and make the final determination on all complaints investigated by staff. The Commissioners meet monthly at locations around the state.

 

Commission Chair - Steve Hunt

Image of Commissioner Charlene Strong

Stephen Hunt was appointed to the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) in March, 2012 by Governor Christine Gregoire. He is originally from Massachusetts and has resided in Seattle for the last 38 years.

Mr. Hunt served the public for 34 years at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), prior to his retirement in 2010. During his time with the EEOC he worked extensively with the state and local agencies dealing with discrimination in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. In addition he worked directly with the Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TERO) for 21 tribes in
these states. Mr. Hunt was highly regarded for his dedication to the TERO Programs and the years of assistance he provided. He also has conducted formal training and support to the WSHRC in his position at the EEOC. He is an expert in employment discrimination laws and the administrative process.

In addition Mr. Hunt retired from the US Army Reserve after 20 years combined active and reserve duty.
He is a graduate of the University of Montana. He has been married to his wife Karen for 39 years and has
two grown sons.

Mr. Hunt's term expires in June, 2014.

Commissioner - Shawn Murinko of Olympia

Image of Commissioner Murinko

Shawn Murinko was appointed to the Washington State Human Rights Commission in July 2006 by Governor Christine Gregoire. He is originally from Spokane and currently resides in the Olympia area. Most of his career has focused on disability rights issues. Currently, Shawn works for the State of Washington to ensure transportation equality for persons with disabilities.  He is also the current Chair of the Washington Attorneys with Disabilities group.

Mr. Murinko's term expires July 2016.

Commissioner - Charlene Strong of Seattle

Image of Commissioner Charlene Strong

Charlene Strong was appointed to the Washington State Human Rights Commission in January, 2009.  After the death of her partner Kate Fleming she became a tireless advocate of marriage and same-sex equality.  Her work for this issue brought her to speak before the Washington State legislature a little more than a month after Kate’s death.  Her testimony helped pass landmark domestic partnership legislation in the state of Washington.  Charlene maintains a close working relationship with Equal Rights Washington (ERW).

Charlene’s past involvement, focused in the LBGT community, was with the Human Society’s Pet Project, who provided HIV/AIDS patients with help and care for their pets.  Charlene designed and managed their veterinary clinic to insure pet care and wellness visits.  She also implemented an intake committee to access candidate needs.  She also worked with the Archdiocese of Seattle on an LGBT task force dedicated to improving acceptance and understanding within the Archdiocese of LGBT parishioners.

Before dedicating her life to same-sex marriage equality, Charlene worked in the dental field for over 20 years.  She pursued a degree in interior design. She is a longtime resident of Seattle.

Ms. Strong's term expires June 2017.

Commissioner - Clarence Henderson

Image of Commissioner Charlene Strong

Clarence Henderson was appointed to the Washington State Human Rights Commission in June, 2012 by Governor Christine Gregoire.

He was raised in Talladega, Alabama but has lived in the Seattle-Tacoma area since 2005.

He attended Norfolk State University and graduated cum laude in 1999 with a B.A. in History.  A graduate of Regent University School of Law; he received his Juris Doctor in 2004.  He has been a member of the Washington State Bar since 2005 and has worked for the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel since 2005 as well.  He is also serves as Board Advisor to the Tacoma Urban League Young Professionals.

Mr. Henderson's term expires in June, 2017.

Commissioner - Vito De La Cruz

Vito De La Cruz

Vito earned his undergraduate degree from Yale and law degree from the University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law in Berkeley, California.

Over the years, Vito has tried over a hundred cases to verdict and represented thousands of clients. He has taught trial advocacy at the National Criminal Defense College, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and internationally for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Institute. He strives for justice for his clients and his community.

Vito is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and conversant in Portuguese. His tri-culturalism (Latino, Native, and American) and experiences growing up in poverty have given him the ability and passion to champion the causes of those injured by others.

With Vito, non-English speakers have an attorney who understands and can communicate directly with them. Native clients have someone with whom they share many cultural elements. All of his clients benefit from his aggressive, persistent, ethical, and quality representation.

Vito is admitted to practice in California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. He has been admitted to practice before the federal courts of the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington, the Eastern District of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as well as the Supreme Courts of the States of California, Oregon, and Washington. He is an active Eagle Member of the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Indian Law Section of the Washington State Bar.

Mr. De La Cruz's term expires in June, 2018.