OLYMPIA – Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, issued the statement below following the Senate’s passage of the 2014 supplemental operating budget Thursday:

“I want to thank Sens. Hargrove and Ranker for their hard work on this budget. Because of them Democratic priorities such as protecting the safety net, family planning and some new education funding were all provided and accounted for.

“I voted ‘yes’ on this budget because of that Democratic imprint, but I know both senators and many of our colleagues on this side of the aisle agree that we must do much more than simply hold steady.

“The days of all cuts budgets are behind us. But people throughout Washington continue to feel the impact of the decisions made during the Great Recession.

“We must rebuild what was torn down during those dark economic days. And we must start by rebuilding our K-12 education system.

“We did that in a modest way in this budget, but we must do so much more if we are going to meet our paramount duty and fully fund K-12 education in this state.

“This week Senate Democrats put forth a plan to continue that conversation. Our plan will put us on the path toward fully funding education and we encourage everyone who is serious about making a difference in the lives of Washington’s one million school kids to join us at the table.

“We cannot let another year go by without developing solutions to this issue. A problem of this magnitude is going to take all sides pulling in the same direction. That work must begin now.”