Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Children's Alliance Names 2010 Champions for Children

 

The Children’s Alliance is honoring five state lawmakers as 2010 Legislative Champions for Children because of their outstanding service on behalf of children:

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown
Speaker of the House Frank Chopp
Representative Roger Goodman
Representative Ruth Kagi
Senator Claudia Kauffman

Each Champion for Children provided significant leadership during the 2010 state legislative session, protecting or advancing state policies or investments that the Children’s Alliance had highlighted as top priorities for improving the well-being of vulnerable children in Washington.

Amid the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and during the toughest legislative session in decades, the Children’s Alliance joined forces with many legislators to protect vital services and funding sources that help children and families in Washington thrive. The 2010 Legislative Champions for Children distinguished themselves by joining with the Children’s Alliance to help us meet the ambitious goals we set in our 2010 legislative priorities.

Representative Roger Goodman
Representative Goodman was a relentless force during the 2010 legislative session, determined not to let another session pass without a significant victory for Washington’s youngest learners and the state’s early learning system. Representative Goodman sponsored legislation that sought to add preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds to the state’s definition of basic education. While the bill underwent various changes, in the end, House Bill 2731 will give more children access to early learning by making Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) the starting point for a statewide preschool program which will be available to all children by the 2018 school year. Representative Goodman’s tough advocacy for kids moved our state toward creating a stable early learning program for our 3- and 4-year-olds. Even though the compromise bill doesn’t add preschool to Washington’s definition of basic education, Representative Goodman worked across party lines and across legislative chambers to fight for the development of a preschool system that will improve access to early learning programs for all of Washington’s kids.

Representative Ruth Kagi
Representative Kagi has been a champion for children throughout her long-time tenure in the House of Representatives. This year, Representative Kagi continued to speak passionately about the critical role that early learning plays in making sure that children start kindergarten ready to succeed in school. Representative Kagi stood with the Children’s Alliance by calling for a firm funding commitment for programs that serve children from birth through age three. She explained that funding and programs that serve infants and toddlers must not go ignored or be cut back as the state begins to improve services for children age 3 and older. The birth-to-3 bill that Representative Kagi sponsored, House Bill 2867, requires the Department of Early Learning to prepare a plan for making early learning available to more infants and toddlers in low-income families, and to recommend funding levels for those services. Representative Kagi’s leadership on House Bill 2867 shined a brighter light on the critical importance of strengthening our state’s commitment to preparing children for school and life.

Senator Claudia Kauffman
Session after session, Senator Kauffman continues to show an outstanding commitment to improving the systems that care for the most vulnerable children and families in this state. This year was no exception. Senator Kauffman showed strong leadership in 2010 by sponsoring Senate Bill 6759, which develops a plan to create an early learning system with a path toward preschool for all. This law requires the state to study the benefits and potential challenges of different approaches to seamlessly integrating preschool with the state’s K-12 education system and to improving access to preschool for children across the state. Championing this bill highlighted Senator Kauffman’s continued commitment to making sure we provide children in low-income families and children of color equal opportunities to succeed by creating a plan that better prepares kids for school from the day they’re born until they start kindergarten.

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp
Over five years ago, Speaker Chopp called on state lawmakers to begin a campaign that called on state lawmakers to “Cover All Kids” so that no child in our state would lack health coverage. Every year since, that vision becomes more of a reality. Through Apple Health for Kids, more than 140,000 previously uninsured children have gotten access to health coverage they need to grow and thrive. In 2010, Speaker Chopp’s strong leadership for children’s health was unwavering. While many important programs and services were vulnerable to cuts due to the budget deficit, the Speaker was adamant that Apple Health for Kids must be protected. Speaker Chopp united representatives in the House to fully preserve Apple Health for Kids – the state’s public health plan for kids who qualify for Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other coverage. Apple Health for Kids is recognized as a national model for providing comprehensive and affordable health coverage for children, and because of Speaker Chopp’s leadership, this program will continue to be a model for years to come. 

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown 
Senator Brown began this session with a clear commitment to children’s advocates that the Apple Health for Kids program must be maintained, especially in this time of economic crisis for kids and families. With this strong commitment to kids’ health coverage at the top of her priority list, Senator Brown made sure a solid majority of her colleagues followed her lead. Because of her dedication and leadership, the Senate never proposed any reductions in health coverage benefits or eligibility. By maintaining Apple Health for Kids’ integrity throughout the legislative session, 16,000 children were able to keep their health coverage and avoid drastic cuts in the governor’s initial budget proposal. Senator Brown stood strong for kids and played a crucial role in leading the Legislature to fully protect coverage for children in low- and moderate-income families, making sure that they have access to affordable, high-quality health coverage.

For more information about how kids and families fared in the 2010 legislative session, see our 2010 Legislative Session Review, titled “Standing Strong for Kids: Tough Times Inspire Tougher Advocacy.”

CONTACT: Jon Gould, Deputy Director, (206) 324-0340 x19, cell: (206) 683-2674, jon@childrensalliance.org

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The Children’s Alliance is a statewide public policy advocacy organization that works at the state and federal level to ensure that all children have what they need to thrive, especially our most vulnerable children, who are disproportionately those in low-income families and communities of color. Current campaigns focus on health care, ending childhood hunger, early learning, and foster care. Our membership includes 125 organizations and more than 10,000 individuals statewide.