Those of you who know me know that I’m passionate about expanding access to ALL in our communities, especially folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I’m proud of the progress we made this year. We barred state agencies from paying less than minimum wage, increased the rate of pay for community respite providers, expanded social and emotional learning, and increased the special education funding multiplier.
But there’s more to do. Right now, Washington is 41st in the nation in investment in our developmentally disabled community. There are 14,000 Washingtonians who qualify for DD services who can’t access them because of lack of funding. We have a complex system that’s hard for families to navigate, and we need to fix that. To that end we brought together a group of parents, self-advocates, organizations, and agencies to talk through challenges and work on potential solutions.
More to come soon on that path forward! In the meantime, I wanted to share two great success stories from our community.
The playground at Evergreen Rotary Park in Bremerton was the dream of a group of moms who called themselves Beyond Accessible. They knew that the bare minimum of ADA accessibility for playgrounds still excluded many kids who had greater needs. And they worked for years to garner support from the community, the city, and the state.
Now on a beautiful summer day, you can see kids of all abilities running or wheeling across the turf, learning at the Braille clock, or playing in any of a million creative ways in this rich, stimulating environment. It’s truly a place where ALL may play.
Second, supported employment programs are making great job matches, and recently, I got to see the tremendous work that Trillium Employment Services is doing in Kitsap County — with employer partners like Silverdale Beach Hotel, Hops n Drops, and Whiskey Gulch CoffeePub.
So many individuals with I/DD have heard over and over what they can’t do, when the reality is that there is a world of possibilities out there just waiting to be discovered.
Around the 26th
I hope you can join me at one of my coffee hours around the district: 1st Mondays in Port Orchard, 2nd Mondays in Gig Harbor, 3rd Mondays on the Key Peninsula, and 4th Mondays in Bremerton. You can see the details about the upcoming schedule on my website or Facebook.
My week in service
I believe in transparency, and I want to keep you all informed about what I’m doing on behalf of the 26th District in Olympia. That’s why I’m making a practice of posting my legislative calendar each week on Facebook. You can see this week’s here.
Keep in touch
I’m eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what my team and I are up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at (360) 627-7610 or Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov. The more we hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values and goals.
All my best,