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    VIRTUAL GRADUATION CELEBRATION for the Class of 2020 – June 6!

VIRTUAL GRADUATION CELEBRATION for the Class of 2020 – June 6!

May 20th, 2020|

Class of 2020: We are excited to invite you to join Senator Emily Randall – and students, staff, faculty, and community leaders, athletes, and artists from around the state – for a Virtual Graduation Celebration TODAY, JUNE 6… to celebrate YOU! As chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, Senator Randall has had the honor and privilege of working with college students all over the state and knows exactly how hard you’ve worked to get here.

For the virtual celebration, we collected video submissions from incredible Washingtonians who all want to honor your hard work and this amazing victory: graduation!

Tune in by clicking here!

 

E-news – !! UPDATE about the Employment Security Department and unemployment benefits

April 20th, 2020|

Friends, neighbors –  

Our community has shown truly astounding resiliency in the face of loss, instability, and uncertainty. Every day, I am inspired and encouraged by you. I am also eager to share with you some crucial information from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) about expanded benefits and increased capacity to provide aid after April 18 – this weekend!  

There’s a lot you should know and a lot that you should prepare if you plan to take advantage of this aid. We all want every Washingtonian in need to receive help as quickly and efficiently as possible so we can get our families and our neighbors through this together. Read on for updated information and resources about the upcoming expansion of unemployment benefits and, as always, feel free to reach out to my office if there’s anything I can clarify for you. 

Background

During the week of April 5-11, there were 143,241 initial and 585,983 total claims for unemployment benefits, according to ESD. While initial claims declined 16% from the previous week, it was still the third highest weekly number on record and five times more claims than the peak week during the Great Recession. Total weekly claims are now the highest on record. 

ESD Graph

ESD has been working hard around the clock to help folks get their benefits. One of the upcoming steps is a rollout of the new federal CARES Act provisions that expand eligibility for unemployment assistance, increase the weekly benefit amount by $600, and extend the time available for unemployment assistance by 13 weeks.

ESD will be updating their system to enable that expansion so that individuals such as self-employed workers, independent contractors and other workers who are not traditionally eligible can apply for unemployment benefits. The updates will take the system down most of the day on the 18th, and all staff will be involved in the process. Therefore the call center and site will be closed on Saturday but will reopen on Sunday, 4/19In the meantime, you can get ready with the information below. ↓↓↓↓ 

Your unemployment application toolkit 

While ESD works hard to update their system and provide guidance for Washington workers, these are four actions you can take right away to get prepared:  

  1. Stay up to date. If you haven’t already, please sign up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts. You can do so on the agency’s COVID page (esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19). 
  2. Check your eligibility. Learn more about your eligibility and when to apply for benefits using the new eligibility checker 
  3. Get ready to apply. Download the application checklist. 
  4. Set up your account. Watch the tutorial video to set up your account correctly. It is nine minutes long but will likely save a lot of time. 

ESD toolkit graphic

Other next-week news: 

Have you participated in our weekly Live Zoom Chats on Wednesdays? I’ve loved the opportunity to stay connected with neighbors and share information from local leaders! So far I’ve talked to: Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young and Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido about COVID-19 resources in our region, as well as Jaime Forsyth from Kitsap’s Small Business Development Center about support for businesses during this tough time. Next week, I’m so excited to say we’ll have Dr. Nathan Schlicher from Team Health on our call to give us the health expert perspective on today’s health crisis. 

Join us at 3:00 pm (not 1:00 pm as in past weeks – we’re trying to accommodate Dr. Schlicher’s busy schedule!) for our fourth weekly Live Zoom Chat on Wednesday, 4/22. Respond to this email with your questions or comments, or hop on to Facebook at 3:00 pm and drop your questions and thoughts in the comments. Click on the image below to get a reminder and share the link with your friends and neighbors. 

Don’t have Facebook? Don’t worry! We can give you call-in information so you can join by phone.

Live Zoom Chat on 4/22 at 3:00 pm

Looking forward to chatting with you soon, and please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-742-2539 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,

Signature

A letter to our congressional delegation

April 9th, 2020|

Sen. Emily Randall, D-26

On April 7, I authored a letter asking my colleagues in Washington state’s congressional delegation to advocate for loan forgiveness for our health care workers on the front-lines of the coronavirus crisis. Click on the link below to read the letter:

Health Care Workers Loan Forgiveness Letter to Congressional Delegation 4-7-20 (002)

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    E-news – A COVID-19 update about the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order

E-news – A COVID-19 update about the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order

March 25th, 2020|

Friends, neighbors –

On Monday evening March 23, Governor Inslee signed a two-week “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation in Washington state, similar to orders you may have heard about in other states that are also battling coronavirus outbreaks. This decision was not made lightly — it is essential to our ability to control the virus and prevent the number of cases from overwhelming our healthcare system.  Here’s what yesterday’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order means: 

We are ALLOWED to: 

  • Leave the house for essential activities, like grocery shopping and medical care. 
  • Get takeout food from your favorite local restaurants. 
  • Go to work at an essential business, like post offices and pharmacies. 

With modifications, we are ALLOWED to: 

  • Go outside for walks and exercise (because taking care of your mental and physical health, and the health of your furry friend, is absolutely an essential activity!) – as long as you stay six feet away from others. 

We are NOT ALLOWED to: 

  • Gather in groups for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes. 
  • Host or join in-person visits with family and friends. 
  • Camp on state lands. 
  • Go to work at a non-essential business beginning TOMORROW March 26th. 
Stay Home Stay Healthy

These measures are so crucial for protecting health care workers, first responders, and current patients. We’ll be able to slow the spread of the virus so that everyone can give and receive the health care they need, with an adequate amount of supplies – like personal protective equipment and ventilators – available for that care. I know it’s tough to stay home so much more than we’re used to, but staying home is about staying healthy – and keeping others healthy, too! I have been so encouraged and inspired by the way our community members have banded together to help each other through this, and I know we’ll continue to rise to the occasion. 

All my best,

Signature

P.S. If you have questions or information about donations of much needed PPE (personal protective equipment) for health care workers who are in short supply, please email PPEDonation@des.wa.gov. You can find a list of needed items here

E-news – Spotlight: All our great work for our K-12 kiddos!

March 9th, 2020|

Friends, neighbors— 

Our short 2020 legislative session is nearing its end. There is so much to be proud of – especially all the work we’ve done to give all of our kiddos every opportunity to succeed. As chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, I spend a lot of time opening doors for students after K-12, but setting people up for success in college and careers means supporting kiddos long before their senior year. Investments in early learning, supporting students struggling with homelessness, improving social-emotional learning standards, and bolstering graduation pathways are all parts of building a well-prepared workforce. And we have so many education and career wins to celebrate this year! 

Randall and kiddo

Spotlight: K-12 Education

*FYI most of these bills have passed the House and the Senate. Final stop: the governor’s office! 

HB 2455 allows parents who are attending high school or who are working toward completing a high school equivalency certificate to qualify for Working Connections Child Care, a federal- and state-funded program. Parents in high school would be able to take care of their little one and focus on their education, and schools will even provide transportation to both parent and baby. We know earning a high school degree is critical for future job success. This bill will help alleviate the burden of child care on parenting teens so they can earn their degree, pursue their dreams, and take care of their family. 

HB 2660 helps feed kiddos who struggle with food insecurity. It increases the availability of school meals provided to public school students at 18 lower income school districts. This program provides all students with no-cost lunch which eliminates stigma and meal debt, and we know that kids do better in school when they’re well-nourished. 

SB 6117 would increase the funding for students enrolled in special education who are in the general education classroom. This would help us support our students in special education programs at schools throughout the state, something that para-educators and teachers have been asking for. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to education – especially for our young learners with special learning needs – doesn’t work. With this bill we can work to accommodate all of our students. This bill hasn’t made it to the House floor yet, so if it’s something you’re excited about, I encourage you to reach out to your representatives in the House and urge them to help us get this bill to the governor’s desk this session! 

Sen. Randall and group photo with visiting class

HB 1660 helps close the current opportunity gaps in extracurricular participation at high school. It also directs school boards to adopt a policy to waive fees for students who are low-income.  Participation and success should never be limited by socioeconomic status. This bill will help schools examine what they can do to help more of their students pursue soccer, marching band, theatre, debate – whatever they love and whatever they want to try! I am so excited this bill has passed both chambers this week with bipartisan support. 

Besides voting on great bills for kids, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting with students from Lighthouse Christian School, East Port Orchard, Hidden Creek Elementary, Libert-T School, Discovery Elementary, and Mullenix Ridge Elementary – and heard great ideas from our youngest neighbors. I love how much they care about their classmates and their siblings in different grades, and how excited they are to do everything they can to help make the world a better place. Chatting with our young neighbors gives me so much hope, and reminds me why we do the work to support our students. Keep an eye on my FacebookInstagram, and Twitter accounts  I’ll be answering questions from these kiddos in the weeks to come! 

My week in Olympia

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 calendar here each week on Facebook, and have launched an Instagram account (@senatoremilyrandall) to give you more in-the-moment updates.

Keep in touch

We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7650 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,

Signature

Update #2: Information and resource on COVID-19 in Pierce County

March 7th, 2020|

As you may have heard, health officials have confirmed Pierce County’s first case of COVID-19. The patient is in stable condition and is improving, and my sincere well-wishes are with him and his family and friends. 

The health and safety of Washingtonians is my number one priority – as a lawmaker and as the Vice Chair of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, as a longtime health advocate and as a member of my community. Keeping our community safe and healthy in the face of a health emergency like COVID-19 takes strong communication and cooperation between health officers and elected officials of all levels, and I am proud to have worked with my House and Senate colleagues to allocate funding as swiftly as possible, and with our State Department of Health and County Public Health Officers who are doing the frontline work. Special thanks to Congressman Derek Kilmer and Councilmember Derek Young for their strong partnership and commitment to caring for our neighbors in this uncertain time. 

I have faith that the $100 million that the Legislature has fast-tracked will immediately and directly support our collective response to COVID-19. I also have faith in – and deep, deep appreciation for – our health care professionals, who have been working around the clock to treat patients who have been affected and prevent further spread of the virus. It is my honor to do everything I can in support of our “boots on the ground:” first responders and health care providers who are tireless in their diligent care of our neighbors. 

I will be closely monitoring updates from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department – as well as the Kitsap Public Health Districts where we’ve recently learned of four negative test results – on COVID-19 in our region as I receive them. You can find resources on my website here, or call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127. If you have any questions or comments for me, please do not hesitate to reach me at Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov or at (360) 786-7650. 

Update: Information and resources on COVID-19

March 3rd, 2020|

Friends, neighbors –

It’s so important to me that my community (and all Washingtonians!) feel safe and healthy, *and* know that their elected officials and public health officials are working tirelessly on their behalf. Given rising concerns about COVID-19, I want to make sure you have access to all the info you need to take the best care of yourself and your family, friends, and neighbors.

The House and Senate are both working hard on bills that will allocate increased funds to state agencies and local governments so that they have the resources they need to respond to COVID-19. These would give the Department of Social and Health Services funding to increase nursing staff to help address this growing need. We’ll continue to work with DOH, DSHS, and other state agencies to identify what the Legislature can do to ensure we have the necessary resources. Senators will also get an official briefing tomorrow (3/4) and I’d be happy to share with you what I learn. But the real experts (and heroes) here are the medical professionals working so hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help anyone affected get better as soon as possible. That’s why I wanted to post a list of helpful links and other words of wisdom from health experts here on my website.

  • Here’s a link to the Center for Disease Control‘s page on COVID-19. Information straight from medical experts is available there.
  • You can also head to the Washington State Department of Health‘s site for thorough and updated information on all the steps being taken in Washington to keep Washingtonians healthy.
  • The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is another great place to go for information. Head to their page for a comprehensive list of hotlines you can call, FAQs, and brochures available in 7 different languages.
  • Kitsap Public Health District also has a wonderful, recently-updated page packed with information about best practices and what to do if you feel sick.
  • Other best practices: wash your hands frequently and well (and sing the chorus of your favorite song while you scrub so that you wash them long enough!), stay home if you’re feeling sick, and show compassion and support for those who have been directly impacted by this disease. Now’s the time to take care of each other!
  • Still have questions? You can call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

Please share any and all of this page with your neighbors. I am always happy to connect you to resources and information, and if you have thoughts about how our community can best prepare and what we can do to take care of one another better, please don’t hesitate to email me at Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov or call me at (360) 786-7650.

All my best,

Signature

E-news – Lights, camera, floor action

February 17th, 2020|

Friends, neighbors— 

Having completed week number five of session, we’re officially more than halfway to the finish line of our 60-day short session! This week, the House and Senate were both on the floor full-time, debating bills and sending them to the other chamber to start working their way through the process over there. It’s been a full, wonderful week of work, so here are five highlights from every day of the week to show you what we’ve been up to: 

skhs flag

On Monday…

I was visited by some #wolves from South Kitsap High School, my very own alma mater! School board directors from the Peninsula, Bremerton, and South Kitsap School Districts dropped by my office to talk about how the legislature can work with high schools in the state to make sure every student has the support and access to resources that they need to finish high school strong. Extra credit goes to SKSD Director Eric Gattenby for bringing along the famous SKHS flag, which has traveled the globe with him to places like South Africa, China, and Washington, D.C.! This flag has now added the Washington State Capitol to its ranks, and if you’d like to see the most well-traveled flag in the state, drop by my office – I have it on our wall! 

united way pierce

On Tuesday…

An awesome group of advocates from the United Way of Pierce County stopped in. I have so much admiration for these folks – they dedicate their time and energy to tackling our community’s toughest challenges, and they came to talk to me about how the state can support struggling families in Pierce County with more readily available resources, including South Sound 211, a free community hotline that connects folks to critical services related to everything from rent assistance to tax preparation services. I love getting to meet up with constituents doing such good work. It’s an honor to stand alongside them in partnership against poverty, working toward a shared value: helping people thrive. 

wilson randall hug

On Wednesday…

Full-time floor action started! I am absolutely thrilled to share that my bill to establish an LGBTQ veteran coordinator passed with incredible bipartisan support. This piece of legislation has been over a year in the making. It’s something I have been committed to since I joined the Senate. This bill is a product of dozens of conversations with military friends, family, and neighbors who’ve been asking for a veteran coordinator that is dedicated to connecting LGBTQ vets to the resources they deserve, and so often go without. Read more about it here! 

darneille lovelett randall suffrage flag

On Thursday…

We celebrated the powerful, lasting legacy of women who fought for suffrage. Because of those who made their voices loud and clear to advocate for the right to vote, women now have a seat at the policymaking table. Though it took decades for women – all women – to receive this precious right, we honor the movement of inclusion and equity that paved the way for us. It was my privilege to hold the symbol of the women’s suffrage flag alongside my friends Sen. Darneille and Sen. Lovelett as we celebrated the steps toward a more robust democracy that we’ve made – and continue to make – as a state and as a nation. 

Sen Randall in wings

On Friday…

We were debating bills on the floor nearly all day, which meant we got to send some amazing legislation over to the House. One of the highlights included a data privacy bill (SB 6281) that bolsters consumers’ access to and control over their personal data held by companies. It gives Washingtonians the tools to determine how their personal data is used and shared. That includes the right to know who is using their data and why,  the right to delete certain personal data, and the right to opt out of the processing of data. The act also requires companies – like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook – to disclose data management policies in order to increase transparency and establishes limits on the commercial use of facial recognition technology. I was proud to support a bill that puts Washingtonians and their right to their own data first!

My week in Olympia

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 calendar here each week on Facebook, and have launched an Instagram account (@senatoremilyrandall) to give you more in-the-moment updates.

Keep in touch

We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7650 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,

Signature

E-news – Introducing my team, part 2!

February 3rd, 2020|

Randall 2019 banner

Friends, neighbors – 

We’re now three weeks into session, and I’m proud of what we’ve already accomplished. On the Senate floor we strengthened last year’s investment in higher education access for Washington students; we moved my post-partum Medicaid expansion bill out of the Health and Long Term Care committee and on to Ways & Means (the next step in the process to passage!); I introduced a common sense bike-signal bill in the Transportation committee; and I got to visit with two 4th grade classes visiting the Capitol on field trips! 

It’s been a busy and successful week, and I have the support of my neighbors, my colleagues, and my staff to thank for helping me get such great work done. In last week’s newsletter, I introduced my session aide (Cameron) and my intern (Ashley), two awesome young women who are a crucial part of my team. Today, I want to introduce the other half of my team – Sarah, my legislative aide, and Hannah, my communications specialist! 

Introducing my team

Communicating with my district – letting you know what we’re working on, being transparent about my schedule, giving you exciting new updates – is so incredibly important to me. It’s how I keep in touch with you and how you keep in touch with me! That’s why I’m excited to work with Hannah Sabio-Howell, my new communications specialist! She helps me prep my outgoing communications, like my Facebook posts, newsletters, speeches, and press releases. Plus, she’s often my photographer and videographer at different events, so we can always show you what we’re up to.

H. Sabio-Howell w ER

Hannah has lived in St. Louis, MO, Baguio City in the Philippines, and Chicago, IL – but ended up in our wonderful Washington state to be near her extended family in Walla Walla and Ritzville. She attended Whitworth University in Spokane (shout out to our independent colleges and universities!), where she studied Political Science, Spanish, and Law and Justice, then headed even further west to work for the office of Representative Springer in Kirkland. We’re glad that her journey to public service has ultimately landed her on our team, managing communications for our office! 

Hannah says that “supporting the community-driven and justice-oriented work of Senator Randall is rewarding, exciting, and fun. The senator and her staff embody the saying that ’empowered women empower women’ and I am honored to be one of the people who gets to work closely with them and for them, for the people of LD 26 and all of Washington State.” You may see Hannah running around with a camera in hand at our events or meetings throughout the year, and when you do, I hope you’ll get a chance to say hey!

Sarah Myers

Sarah Myers, my fabulous legislative assistant (aka Chief of Staff, aka The Boss) is someone you likely already know! She’s been my amazing #TeamRandall lead for a year now, helping me track policy, bring together stakeholders, organize coffee hours and town halls, and keep our office humming. She helps me out when I need to be in five places at once – and works incredibly hard to make sure we serve you to the very best of our ability.

Sarah grew up in Shelton, so the shores of the Puget Sound are close to her heart. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, then jumped straight into the legislature – the 2020 session is her fourth! She says that what drew her in was “a fantastic internship program and wonderful coordinators” who showed her what it means to be a part of a representative government.

Her favorite part of working at the legislature is building long-term relationships with constituents  relationships that continue outside the bustle of legislative session to longer, in-district meetings over interim. Sarah and I had the chance to visit organizations, businesses, and passionate advocates in the summer and fall, and she loves connecting with the familiar faces that pop through our office door in Olympia. If you haven’t had an opportunity to meet her yet, you really should! 

My week in Olympia

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 calendar and a week-in-review video on Facebook every week. You can see last week’s calendar here, and last week’s video here.

Keep in touch

Thank you for taking the time to read my update. We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7650 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,

Signature

E-news – Introducing my team!

January 27th, 2020|

Randall 2019 banner

Dear friends and neighbors,

This week we moved full speed ahead with policy work, committee hearings, stakeholder round tables, and constituent meetings. We started the week off with a beautiful celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during which I was honored to stand and speak to his legacy, as well as the legacy of hope and justice that was left by our district’s very own former-Senator Bill Smitherman and our beloved Bishop Larry Robertson. What a powerful way to begin a week of work for the people of Washington. Other highlights included: committee hearings on my bills to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage for brand new birth parents for a full year – instead of the current 60 days (SB 6128) – and my bill to pave the way for more school-based health clinics (SB 6279). Looking forward to continuing our work to expand access to health care this session. 

Introducing my team

We have an awesome team who jumped right into session – even starting at our pre-session #townhalltour, setting up meetings with constituents, getting prepared for committee hearings, tracking important legislation, and doing everything possible to serve you in Olympia. I’m going to introduce them over the next couple weeks, starting with my session aide and intern! 

ER + cameron kockritz

Cameron Kockritz, my session aide, grew up in Kalama, Washington, right along the Columbia River. She graduated recently from The Evergreen State College – one of our state’s amazing institutions of higher education! – where she studied Political Science and Literature. 

Something Cam loves about the legislature is that there’s always something to do: every day brings new and compelling challenges and opportunities. She says that “there is everything to love about working here in the legislature, but one of my absolute favorite parts is meeting and listening to everyone who visits Senator Randall and seeing how individual priorities weave together to highlight the larger intersecting issues, and how those issues then help guide the senator.” 

Ultimately, she says that she loves the way our office is based in service, and appreciates how highly we value voices and populations often shut out from policy conversations. I’m so glad Cameron has joined us for the session  strengthening our team with her own voice and incredible commitment to service! Since she’s one of the first faces you see when you visit our office, I hope you’ll swing by and get a chance to meet her. 

ashley rot 2020 intern

Ashley Rot, my wonderful intern, is originally from Naperville, IL, before she moved to Alta, WY, where her family still lives. She’s currently a junior at the University of Puget Sound – yet another amazing university I love to visit – and will graduate with the class of ’21. She’s passionate about policy and law, and I’m excited to follow her future career! 

She says her favorite thing about the legislature has been “meeting so many different people, each with their own passion for a different issue. Every day I go home thinking about an issue I hadn’t previously considered, because the people of Washington brought it to us!” And something she loves about our office in particular is that she’s treated like a valuable member of the team – because she is! – and that together we fight to ensure that every voice is valued. 

Ashley advises anyone considering working at the legislature to just apply! “Apply for any position, because people are so helpful and willing to work with you. Even if you don’t see yourself represented in the legislature, there’s someone rooting for you to apply so you can contribute your knowledge, your unique perspective, and your experiences.” Well said, Ashley! 

My week in Olympia

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 calendar and a week-in-review video on Facebook every week. You can see last week’s calendar here, and last week’s video here.

Keep in touch

Thank you for taking the time to read my update. We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7560 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,