Welcome to the unofficial start of the 2015 legislative session!
Tonight, Gov. Inslee will share his vision (and 2015-17 budget) for helping all of our state’s children get a great education – and for our littlest children, a great start in life and school.
I’m particularly excited about this session. In previous years, Thrive has played more of a behind-the-scenes role in Olympia, helping to educate legislators on early learning issues. This year, we have a clear legislative agenda and will be an active and assertive player.
We made this change with the full support of our board, which includes Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane), Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Shoreline) and Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla). Our state and local partners – and, most important, young children and their families – need our bigger and bolder voice and actions more than ever.
In just a handful of years, our state has become a nationally recognized leader in early learning for our deep commitment and understanding of what it really takes to give all children a great start in life. This means high-quality programs; holistic approaches; extra focus on families furthest from opportunities; connections with the K-12 system; and the effective combination and leverage of public and private resources.
We want to do our part to make sure Washington state keeps moving forward.
At the heart of our legislative agenda are five drivers that reflect what is most important to us:
- Invest in high-quality early learning
- Champion birth to 3
- Advance racial equity
- Amplify family/community voice
- Support a coordinated and well-funded education continuum
What these drivers mean for this legislative session is that we’ll be focused on:
- Passing the Early Start Act (high-quality licensed child care)
- Promoting early learning as part of the solution for meeting the state’s constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education (McCleary)
- Increasing state support – both dollars and bipartisan leadership – for early learning
- Supporting regional voice in statewide policymaking
As always, we’ll be working closely with many partners throughout the state to make this a successful session for children and families.
Please join us. We need your voice, too.