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.”