Note: Yesterday Children’s Alliance staff sent the following letter to Congress members representing Washington state.
Dear Members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation,
At the Children’s Alliance, we believe policies and programs at every level of government should work for kids. We also believe in a fair economy and sound investments. The best way to ensure we remain a strong nation ready to take on tomorrow's challenges is by investing in our children today.
We have the ingenuity and resources in this country to ensure all kids get a fair chance. Yet, continued cuts to smart investments threaten our future. Austerity measures disproportionately impact children color – the fastest growing population in the country – thus stifling our economic potential.
The dust stirred up by Election 2012 is starting to settle. We know who will be in the White House and representing Washington State in the 113th Congress.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Members of the 112th Congress still have some work to do.
Last week, Children’s Alliance joined family advocates to defend marriage equality and urge voters to APPROVE Referendum 74 and spoke up for families disproportionately hurt by current marijuana enforcement policy in support of Initiative 502. A Seattle legislator says NO on Initiative 1185 because extending the supermajority rule would rob Washington’s children of a basic education. In national news, former U.S. Senator George McGovern passes on at age 90, leaving a legacy of bipartisanship to feed hungry children.
A longtime dentist and health leader says it's time Washington adds a new midlevel provider to extend care and clinic hours to the chronically underserved. In other news, a new report confirms that current marijuana enforcement is costly and disproportionately hurts communities of color. Business leaders in Clark County hail high-quality early learning as a smart investment with high returns. Finally, the Tri-City Herald endorses Referendum 74 to protect love and equality for all of Washington’s families.
Has this ever happened to you?
You check Facebook. There is a video of a candidate saying something you found ridiculous. After watching the video, you frantically call the cat into the room and start ranting.
Now everybody knows about your outrage – except for the candidate who caused it.
Early learning advocates recognize lawmakers in Shelton and Anacortes for prioritizing early learning, and one Monroe resident says Head Start is key in building a strong foundation for success. In other state news, The Seattle Times endorses Initiative 502 to boost marijuana regulation and state revenue, one legislator says Initiative 1185 threatens a balanced approach to the state budget, and education advocates challenge the legislature’s supermajority vote on taxes in Supreme Court. As health care reform advances in Washington, candidates for Governor weigh in on whether extending health coverage helps or hurts our state.
One education advocate asserts that school districts can do more for academic success by strengthening early learning. The Children’s Alliance endorses Initiative 502 to lessen the inequitable impact of marijuana enforcement policy on families, the Seattle Times asks voters to approve Referendum 74 in support of family values and The News Tribune calls Initiative 1185 “inherently democratic.” In other news, a nurse says extending Medicaid to more Washingtonians will save state dollars. And in national news, one advocate speaks up for families that would be hit hard by deep cuts to food stamps proposed in the House Farm Bill.
Last year, Washington’s rate of hunger hit an all-time high since the federal government began keeping records 16 years ago, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
From 2007 to December 2011, 75,000 more Washington households have found themselves unable to provide enough food for their kids. One in four of our state’s 1.5 million children are coping with hunger. That’s a lot of empty refrigerators, meal-stretching and meal-skipping, and nights spent worrying about where the next meal comes from.
This week, Children’s Alliance takes a stand for kids and racial equity by endorsing state ballot measure Initiative 502. In other state news, a new report shows that child hunger has spiked faster than surrounding states as deep food stamp cuts are considered at the federal level, and the Governor is recognized for her achievements in early learning during her eight-year term. Last week, early learning advocates awarded Rep. Bruce Dammeier and Sens. Mike Carrell and Debbie Regala Crayon Awards for their outstanding work on early learning in Washington. And finally, one elder advocate says Washington needs a new licensed dental practitioner to extend quality dental care to underserved seniors and families.
Pam Oliver of Everett has been a daily advocate for her five-year-old son, Steve Jr., since he was born prematurely at 25 weeks weighing just over 3 pounds.
“Having a medically fragile son, I had a lot to say, but wasn’t sure how to say it and whom to say it to,” remembers Pam.
She got some concrete answers when she attended Advocacy Camp last year, where she took an interactive workshop on state government. This gave her an in-depth look at the legislative process and opportunities to ask detailed questions. Before this, says Pam, “I did not know that the average person could have a say in legislative issues.”