In these pandemic-heavy times, it can seem like little good is going on around us. It might be only human to feel that way, but it’s not accurate. Plenty of good things are going on — they’re just not as obvious as the upsetting things.

Take, for example, what’s happening in our state’s Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP). In 2020, I sponsored a proviso in the budget to get PCAP $1.2 million. Among other things, that money helps pregnant women with substance use disorder access the treatment they need to get clean and retain custody of their babies. That not only heals substance abusers, it protects families and keeps their kids in loving homes instead of becoming wards of the system. But unless you’re one of those moms, you’d probably never know of this program. Having worked as a child welfare prosecutor, I know firsthand it’s always a win when we can keep kids safe while keeping families together—foster care should be a last option, not a first one.

Another proviso I worked into that same budget committed $409,000 to the Mockingbird Society to help youth across our state participate in efforts to improve the foster care system. Even though you may not see the results firsthand, it’s paying dividends as we speak.

More recently, I supported a $1.7 million proviso in the 2021 budget to monitor the health of steelhead populations and look for ways to help salmon survive the sea lions in the Columbia River. Unless you die and get reincarnated as a salmon, you surely won’t see the results of this investment — but whether you love to eat salmon or just want to see marine species thrive, this is another positive step forward that makes our state and our communities stronger.

Other important investments this year include several actions to improve nearby educational opportunities: $46.9 million for Allied Health in Shoreline; $3 million for the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education center in Shoreline; and $3.6 million for the Triton Learning Center in Edmonds.

These examples only scratch the surface of the many positive advances we make each year in the Legislature. I hope they help you see how much good is being done and the ways our communities will benefit, and are able to counter the discouraging mood of our pandemic-clouded days. And if you enjoyed hearing about these positive developments and would like to hear more, just let me know. There are far more to share, and I’m more than happy to share them.