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    Coronavirus info: How we can work together to keep our community safe

Coronavirus info: How we can work together to keep our community safe

March 20th, 2020|

Friends and neighbors

I know that we are all concerned with the coronavirus outbreak and have many questions about what we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy.

Here are a few helpful links that will answer many of your questions.

This is the state portal to many answers to your coronavirus questions. Here you’ll find links to help you know what to do if you feel you may be infected, information about school closures, unemployment insurance, the latest news and statistics and most importantly tips on how to stay healthy.

This link will take you to the Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department. Here you can find out the latest news and information about what is happening in our communities in response to this outbreak. You can also sign up for email updates to receive the latest info directly.

Friends, we will get through this crisis, but we have to work together and follow the simple guidelines being laid out by the governor and public health officials.

Wash your hands, practice social distancing, and if you can, please stay home.

We can do this Washington.

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    Sen. Conway: We must keep our promise to all of Washington’s public servants

Sen. Conway: We must keep our promise to all of Washington’s public servants

February 19th, 2020|

Washington’s retired teachers and other public employees educated generations of Washingtonians, worked tirelessly to improve public health and provided countless other services for people throughout our state.

Under a bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, retired public employees will receive a modest three percent cost of living increase to help make ends meet.

“It’s important that we keep our promises to these people who taught us, taught our children, worked on our roads, dedicated their lives to public health and safety,” said Conway, D-Tacoma. “This is a modest yet critically important cost of living increase for thousands of Washingtonians.”

The increase will be a maximum of $62.50 per month for people enrolled in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS Plan 1) or the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS Plan 1).

The bill, SB 5400, passed out of the Senate unanimously on Feb. 19. It is scheduled to be voted out of the House Committee on Appropriations on March 2.

“This money will not be spent on luxuries. The folks in this retirement system are aging and this increase will be spent on medical expenses, rent, groceries and other necessities,” Conway said. “This is about keeping promises and making sure our retired public employees can live their lives in dignity.”

Conway bill will help Washington’s military spouses

February 18th, 2020|

When a one member of a military deploys, the entire family serves.

Sen. Steve Conway is sponsoring a bill to ensure that the people who are left behind while their loved ones are protecting our freedoms abroad, have the resources they need stateside to continue life as normal as possible.

Senate Bill 6626 will establish a liaison office inside the state’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs to work with military spouses. Military spouses face a variety of challenges during deployment including childcare, employment, education and simply making ends meet.

“Military spouses are potentially thousands of miles away, but in many ways they serve right alongside their family member,” Conway said. “Many of these folks turn into single parents during deployment. This liaison position will give these brave men and women and their families a resource they can lean on during an extraordinarily stressful time.”

The bill passed the Senate with unanimous support on Feb. 18. It now awaits further consideration in the House.

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    Legislature honors Franklin on Senate floor, celebrates oral history

Legislature honors Franklin on Senate floor, celebrates oral history

January 31st, 2020|

A groundbreaking former state lawmaker has chronicled her experiences in the Legislature in a biographical oral history.

All proceeds from sales of Rosa Franklin — A Life in Health Care, Public Service, and Social Justice will go into an account that funds Capitol preservation, the state library and archives, and the legislative oral history program.

“When Sen. Sam Hunt called me several months ago and said ‘the legislative oral history committee has voted for you to tell your story,’ I thought maybe he was kidding,” former Sen. Rosa Franklin (D-Tacoma) said Monday while being honored on the Senate floor. “It is indeed a deep honor to be back. It’s overwhelming, really.”

Franklin was the first black woman elected to the Senate and represented the 29th Legislative District in Tacoma for 20 years, but her long legislative career is only one aspect of her storied path. Sen. Steve Conway succeeded Franklin upon her retirement following the 2010 session.

Before Franklin won election to the Legislature, her 42-year career in health care brought her from South Carolina to Washington state and included stops in Brooklyn, Colorado, Germany, and the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, among other venues.

An inductee in the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame, Franklin holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Puget Sound and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington State Democratic Party.

“Rosa Franklin’s lifelong commitment to social justice is an inspiration in a time when many have lost faith in government,” wrote Tamiko Nimura, the book’s author.

Franklin’s legislative achievements ran the gamut from establishing the state’s housing and anti-discrimination policy in her freshman year, to eliminating redundant requirements for nursing credentials, to enabling voters to approve public financing of election campaigns. She served as Democratic Whip, as Majority Whip, and twice as President Pro Tempore.

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    Ground broken on housing for veterans experiencing homelessness

Ground broken on housing for veterans experiencing homelessness

October 15th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway (D-South Tacoma) joined local officials in Orting on Oct. 1 to break ground on a new tiny house village that will provide supportive housing to up to 35 veterans in Pierce County experiencing homelessness.

Located on a five-acre portion of the campus of the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Soldiers Home, the Orting Veterans Village will give veterans access to fully furnished tiny homes, as well as one-on-one staff support and a built-in community, starting in 2020.

Quixote Communities – a non-profit known for Quixote Village, a tiny house village supporting 30 individuals in Olympia – will operate and manage the Orting project, in partnership with the WDVA and the Puget Sound Veterans Hope Center. Community Frameworks, a non-profit affordable housing developer that also worked on Quixote Village, is serving as the contracted developer.

The Veterans Village is being built in part with $3 million in funding that Conway secured as part of the 2017-19 capital construction budget. In addition to tiny homes, it will have a large community building with a double kitchen, dining area, multipurpose room, staff offices and laundry facilities.

Quixote Communities plans to partner with the WDVA and community resources to provide residents services including transportation, care coordination, behavioral health services and life skill classes.

A rendering of the future Orting Veterans Village.

Conway helps kick off construction of SR 167 completion

October 14th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway (D-South Tacoma) joined Gov. Jay Inslee and other officials at the Port of Tacoma on Oct. 1 to kick off construction on completion of State Route 167 in Pierce County, part of the $1.96 billion Puget Sound Gateway Program connecting ports with manufacturing and industrial centers.

The program, which also includes completion of SR 509 in King County, closes two of the state’s major transportation gaps. It makes critical “last mile” connections to the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, and provides greater transportation choices to move people and goods more reliably through the Puget Sound region and enhance Washington’s national and global economic competitiveness.

It is the biggest project of the state’s 2015 Connecting Washington transportation revenue package, which provides the majority of the program’s funding.

In Pierce County, the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will build four miles of new highway to complete the missing link between SR 167 in Puyallup and I-5 in Fife. WSDOT will also build a new two-mile connection from I-5 to the Port of Tacoma.

Extension of SR 509 will increase connectivity between Seattle and south King County, and provide a much-needed north-south alternative to I-5. It also will create a new southern access point to Sea-Tac International Airport and serve as an alternative to I-5, SR 99 and local streets.

WSDOT is scheduled to complete stage 1 of the Puget Sound Gateway Program in 2026. Stage 2 projects are set for construction between 2024 and 2028.

The project was initially scheduled for completion in 2031, but that timetable was moved up three years after the Legislature authorized WSDOT to accelerate the project schedules.

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    Conway joins commission administering long-term care benefit program

Conway joins commission administering long-term care benefit program

August 7th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway (D-South Tacoma) has been appointed to serve on the commission that will help administer Washington’s new long-term care benefit program.

The Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Commission will establish rules and policies for the program, which gives residents who need assistance with activities of daily living up to $36,500 for long-term services and supports like caregiving, wheelchair ramps, meal deliveries and nursing home fees.

The Legislature passed House Bill 1087 establishing the first-in-the-nation program during its 2019 session in order to help Washington households deal with the ballooning costs of long-term care. Conway co-sponsored a companion bill in the Senate.

House Bill 1087 passed with bipartisan support and the support of family caregivers, aging and disability advocates, small business owners, long-term care providers, labor unions and consumer rights organizations.

In addition to the newly established long-term care commission, the program will be jointly administered by the Health Care Authority, the Department of Social and Health Services and the Employment Security Department.

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    Franklin Pierce School District unveils state’s first electric school bus

Franklin Pierce School District unveils state’s first electric school bus

June 17th, 2019|

TACOMA – Sen. Steve Conway (D-South Tacoma) was on hand on June 17 as the Franklin Pierce School District unveiled the state’s first electric school bus.

The bus is part of a pilot program intended to lead to the replacement of the district’s fleet of diesel buses, reducing carbon emissions and saving the district thousands in maintenance and fuel costs.

Conway joined Gov. Jay Inslee and others aboard the all-electric Blue Bird school bus for a victory lap around the track at the district’s stadium, cheered on by students, parents and teachers.

Seating 72 and with a range of 120 miles, the bus features a custom educational energy dashboard showing real-time energy use and savings.

The district purchased the bus with help from a grant program funded by TransAlta as part of its agreement to phase out its coal-fired plant in Centralia.

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    Conway hails executive order to help veterans, military spouses find jobs

Conway hails executive order to help veterans, military spouses find jobs

May 14th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway (D-South Tacoma) has welcomed Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature on an executive order to help military spouses and veterans in Washington find employment and training opportunities as they transition to civilian life.

“Our military spouses and veterans make a lot of sacrifices to serve our country,” said Conway, who was present yesterday as Inslee signed the order at a ceremony in the state capitol building. “When it’s time for them to make the move back to civilian life or to another post, it’s important that we give them the support they need to make that change as smooth as possible.”

Inslee’s Executive Order 19-01:

• Adds more agencies to the Washington State Military Transition and Readiness Council;

• Improves data sharing and evaluation;

• Supports veteran and military spouse-owned businesses;

• Promotes campaigns to hire veterans and military spouses;

• Shortens the paperwork and credential transfer process for veterans or spouses who move to Washington;

• Applies the current veteran employment plan to military spouses;

• Instructs agencies to ensure that military spouses and veterans have equal opportunity; and

• Directs that state employee resource groups be created to promote recruitment, retention and development of veterans and military spouses in state government.

E News: 2019 Budget Update

May 8th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

We accomplished a lot during this year’s 105-day legislative session. In addition to passing a wide range of bills improving the quality of life in our communities, we finished on time and passed capital construction, transportation and operating budgets for the next two years.

The $4.9 billion construction budget makes investments across Washington in areas like behavioral health, affordable housing, education and the environment. Projects in our district include:

• $1 million for roof replacement at the Marymount Museum/Spana Park Senior Center.

• $773,000 for the Springbrook Park Expansion and Clover Creek Restoration to improve the biodiversity of native and aquatic plants and improve water quality.

• $500,000 for construction work to finish phase I in creating the Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson.

• $1 million for the Pierce Center for Arts & Technology (Arivva) in Tacoma, which provides visual arts programs for youth and postsecondary career training for local workers.

• $500,000 for the McChord Airfield North Clear Zone to mitigate possible public and flight safety risks.

• $2.26 million for the Department of Ecology to implement cleanup remedies around the Lakewood – Ponders Corner superfund site.

• $2.8 million to support the Fire Service Training Center at Bates Technical College.

The $9.8 billion transportation budget includes continued delivery of projects first adopted as part of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package.

The $52.4 billion operating budget pays for most state programs, policies and salaries. In addition to making significant investments in K-12 education, we also passed a bill to allow local school districts voters to increase levies to fund programs like athletics, debate clubs, summer learning programs, field trips, mentoring and teacher training.

It has been an honor to continue to serve our communities in the Senate. If you have any questions about the budget or anything else that happened this session in Olympia, I encourage you to reach out to my office.

Best regards,