State Capitol, Olympia
This event is free and lunch is provided.
The day features a brief training for new advocates, a rally on the Capitol steps, and opportunities for you to visit your legislators.
Members of Congress are home for the summer, meeting with constituents, learning more about issues in their districts and preparing for the November election. They get back to D.C. in early September, just a few days after Washington’s school kids head to the classroom.
Then, Congress will resume the debate about our national priorities – a debate that very directly concerns every Washington child who’s entering a classroom for the first time.
The first five years of life have a deep and durable influence on the rest – they’re the time when the fundamental architecture of the mind is built. Our public resources for the very young– from Early Head Start to Head Start to child care funds – affect children’s ability to spend their early years in enriching environments that serve them well in school and in life.
A wealth of data shows that these programs close the opportunity gap. Parents have seen that they work. Many lawmakers know that without them, we’ll neither lower spending nor create broadly shared prosperity. And yet they’re under threat.
Ask these five questions for candidates running for state offices (state legislators and governor). Please scroll to see reverse side for questions for candidates running for Congress.
Times continue to be tough for thousands of Washington families. Long-term unemployment is still rising, and now, more than 10,000 Washington workers have come to the end of their unemployment benefits. One in eight children in our state live in households where someone is experiencing unemployment.
Yet Congress is breezing through a series of budget bills, and the 2012 Farm Bill as though the future of our kids and our nation's ability to feed them were not at stake. They are wrong.
One in four Washington children struggle against hunger. In these families meals are skipped, food is rationed, cheaper but less healthy food is purchased, and choices are made between food, rent, medicine and the gas needed to get to work. These families face the dilemma of “heat or eat” every day.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s number-one defense against hunger. And it’s shaped by the Farm Bill, a piece of legislation renewed every five years by Congress, and up for consideration in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.
Much of the Farm Bill debate centers on farm subsidies. Wealthy, vested interests are sure to weigh in. But with more than 1 million Washingtonians participating in Basic Food (our name for the program here in Washington), we need to make sure the voices of hungry families are heard.
At 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, legislators passed a final state budget that will affect Washington’s kids for years to come.
Thanks to an extraordinary push from parents, children, and advocates across the state, we protected kids in the budget on a few major issues, and even made progress for them.
Friday night’s takeover of the state Senate gives pundits much to ponder. Who gained at whose expense? What happens now?
But while the dust settles on a potentially deadlocked legislature, one fact is clear. The children of Washington got trampled when a group of Senators conspired to ram through the entire state education, health care, and social services budget without even a nod to public input. Kids are the new roadkill.
How quickly things change. Last year, members of the Senate’s “Roadkill Caucus” stood up for kids and successfully blocked cuts such as taking away Apple Health for Kids health coverage from 27,000 children. In fact, most members of that caucus voted against brutal cuts to kids in the budget that prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
Important legislation to help meet the oral health needs of kids and families took a major step forward this year in Washington.
Senate Bill 6126, legislation to improve dental access in our state, passed out of the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee with the support of committee Chair Sen. Karen Keiser, and lead sponsor, Sen. David Frockt, and early backing from Rep. Eileen Cody. The bill made marked strides, but did not pass the Rules Committee by the February 14th cut-off this legislative session.
The remarkable progress of this issue is the product of a diverse and growing campaign. The Washington Dental Access Campaign will continue the momentum to create a mid-level provider as a way to modernize our state’s oral health workforce and improve access to routine dental care.
Last Monday, Washington anti-hunger advocates sat down with a key Obama administration official and informed him that children and families across our state continue to feel the impact of the recession.
Our 2012 legislative agenda calls on lawmakers to:
Download and print our 2012 legislative agenda.
On Dec. 2, 2011, Children's Alliance gathered hundreds across the state on Capitol steps to issue a statement to lawmakers signed by Washington's kids.
Read our Proclamation by the Children of Washington State: For Us, By Us, For Our Future.