United Way lobbies for kids, food, seniors and housing
More than 80 United Way volunteers and staff attended the seventh annual United Ways of Washington Lobby Day on Feb. 7 in Olympia, 20 of which were from United Way of Snohomish County.
"This is going to be a challenging legislative session,” said Katrina Ondracek, Vice President of Public Policy and Community Initiatives for United Way of Snohomish County. “By lobbying, we are ensuring that our priorities are heard, and the issues facing our county are addressed.”
This year’s legislative agenda focuses on early learning, hunger, homelessness and seniors.
The group encouraged lawmakers to support several programs related to its agenda, including:
• The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)
• Increasing the number of ECEAP slots
• Protecting and funding the Housing Trust Fund
• Ensuring long-term care options for the aging population
• Promoting financial education by creating financial education standards for the common core standards for English language and math
The delegation also urged lawmakers to maintain Senior Citizens Services Act funding, restore funding to State Food Assistance Program (SFA), and increase funding for Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP).
The delegation, in addition to Ondracek and United Way staff, included Rich White, Patrick Pierce and Dennis Kendall, members of United Way’s Public Policy Committee; board members Josh Estes, Jackie Rae and Jim Litz; and community volunteers Tiffany Litz and Donna Wilson.
The group met with Sens. Rosemary McAuliffe, Kirk Pearson, Barbara Bailey, Steve Hobbs, Nick Harper, and Paul Shin, as well as Reps. Norma Smith, Mike Sells, Hans Dunshee, Ruth Kagi, Derek Stanford, John McCoy, Elizabeth Scott, Cindy Ryu, Dan Kristiansen, Marko Liias, and Dave Hayes.
The group also shared information with the legislative assistants for Sen. Maralyn Chase and Reps. Mary Helen Roberts and Mike Hope.
United Way is a community impact organization serving Snohomish County for more than 70 years. In addition to funding 102 programs through 39 agencies with a special focus on local health and human services, United Way of Snohomish County supports a number of initiatives focusing on early learning and education, financial stability for families, a youth program, North Sound 211, and an emerging initiative in survival English.