Monthly Archives: March 2015

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    Ranker Selected as One of Nation’s Top Pro-Growth Progressive Leaders

Ranker Selected as One of Nation’s Top Pro-Growth Progressive Leaders

March 25th, 2015|

Kevin Ranker was selected as one of the nineteen leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL, a national network that is committed to highlighting innovative ideas from state and local elected leaders who are pro-growth progressives.

Governor Jack Markell of Delaware and U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Honorary Chairs of the NewDEAL, recognized Senator Ranker’s efforts to grow his state’s economy and preserve its environment by investing in ways to make outdoor recreation an engine of economic opportunity.

“NewDEAL Leaders in communities across the country have proven that winning policy solutions can be both pro-growth and progressive. We are proud to highlight leaders from across the country with innovative ideas to make government more efficient and effective,” said Senator Warner, Honorary Co-Chair of the NewDEAL.

“We believe that in order to address the challenges of the 21st century, we need to look for fresh ideas at the state and local level where leaders like Kevin Ranker are developing and testing innovative solutions to help move our country forward,” said Governor Markell, Honorary Co-Chair of the NewDEAL.

“Senator Ranker is a strong leader in Washington state on pro-growth, progressive issues, and I know he will be an asset to the NewDEAL. His work at the local level to establish the San Juan Islands National Monument is just one example of his commitment to preserving our local environment, which is an economic engine for Northwest Washington,” Congressman Rick Larsen, WA-02, said.

“I am proud to be recognized by the NewDEAL for my work to make smart investments for our future that spur economic growth that is sustainable,” said Senator Ranker. “I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with my fellow NewDEAL Leaders and hearing about what’s working best in their communities that can help us grow progress here in the state of Washington.”

Kevin Ranker is currently featured on the NewDEAL’s interactive website at www.newdealleaders.org/leader_ranker_kevin. He joins Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Senator Cyrus Habib as one of the 3 NewDEAL Leaders from Washington.

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    Bill promoting outdoor recreation and job creation moves through Senate

Bill promoting outdoor recreation and job creation moves through Senate

March 13th, 2015|

Outdoor recreation contributes an estimated $21.6 billion to Washington’s economy each year, according to a recent report from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The same report notes that across the state there are more jobs in outdoor recreation than in either aerospace or the tech industry.

With that in mind, Sens. Kevin Ranker and Linda Evans Parlette sponsored a bill to provide more than a million dollars for hiring veterans and others to fill jobs in the outdoor recreation industry. The bill also enhances Washingtonian’s access to our natural surroundings, with a particular emphasis on outdoor education and recreation programming aimed at encouraging kids to begin enjoying our great outdoors at a young age.

Senate Bill 5843 passed the Senate on Wednesday with 46 of 49 Senators voting in favor of the bill.

“In addition to having the most beautiful natural surroundings in the nation, Washington’s great outdoors are also an enormous economic driver,” said Sen. Ranker, D-Orcas Island. “Approximately 199,000 jobs and billions of dollars depend on the health of our great outdoors. Our children are the stewards of our environment and I hope this legislation makes that responsibility clear.”

The bill will invest $1 million in the “No Child Left Inside” program, which passed the state Legislature with unanimous support in 2008. Those funds in turn would be used for “No Child Left Inside” grants across the state. This also creates a senior policy advisor to the Governor focusing on outdoor recreation and monitoring the jobs that depend upon it.

The bill follows recommendations from Gov. Jay Inslee’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation, on which Parlette and Ranker served. In a report released last fall, the task force also advocated for the creation of a state outdoor-recreation leader to ensure that state agencies work together to maximize the many direct and indirect economic benefits of recreation.

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    Ranker bill will provide critical information to emergency personnel in a time of crisis

Ranker bill will provide critical information to emergency personnel in a time of crisis

March 10th, 2015|

During the nearly two-week telecommunications outage in San Juan County in November of 2013, two horrible situations occurred because first responders could not respond to the most vulnerable in their time of need.  With no 911 service available and the life alert systems not working, the only way for first responders to make sure people were ok was to go door to door.

A bill to ensure the location of life alert subscribers will be provided to emergency personnel in a time of crisis received unanimous support in the Senate on Tuesday. Senate Bill 5346, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, goes into specific detail in order to fully ensure the protection and privacy of life alert customers during and after the emergency situation.

“This is about public safety and making absolutely sure our first responders have access to the critical information they need to do their job in a time of crisis,” Ranker said. “This is one more protection in place for our most vulnerable if and when another outage occurs.”

During the outage, fire department officials requested locations of life alert customers recognizing that these individuals would be most likely in need of assistance. Unfortunately, internal rules prevented the companies from revealing the locations of their subscribers and two people who had been in serious need of medical attention went without help.  One of these individuals was unable to move for two full days and tragically, the other passed away later at a hospital.

To protect citizens and companies providing these critical services, life alert customer information is confidential and may only be used by first responders in responding to the emergency that prompted the information request. Any first responder receiving the information must destroy it at the end of the emergency and give written notification of such destruction to the company.
Life alert services allow persons in need of emergency assistance to contact a call center through the activation of a wearable device, such as a pendant or bracelet.

The bill now awaits action from the House of Representatives.

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    Sen. Ranker: Transportation plan shouldn’t come at the expense of our kids or our environment

Sen. Ranker: Transportation plan shouldn’t come at the expense of our kids or our environment

March 2nd, 2015|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the statement below following the passage of a statewide transportation plan Monday from the State Senate:

“There is no doubt that every corner of our state is in dire need of transportation investments. That is not up for debate. What is up for debate is the method we employ to make those investments.

“I am very concerned that this plan comes at the expense of our kids and our environment.

“This plan is funded in part by taking almost a billion dollars away from money targeted for education and from money dedicated to cleaning up toxics in our environment.

“We already have very difficult education funding decisions to make and a Supreme Court order to fulfill. I question the wisdom of taking almost a billion dollars away from education before we have even had a chance to make additional investments.

“I also believe investing in transportation at the expense of our environment is a false choice. In addition to taking money away from the environmental cleanup account, this proposal unfortunately includes a poison pill that would reroute millions of dollars in transit investments into pavement if the Governor takes action on climate change.

“For these reasons, I joined all 23 Democratic senators in proposing a clean transportation package, one that gets Washington moving by building critical infrastructure and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs without seriously impacting our schools or the health of our communities.

“Unfortunately that clean proposal was not accepted.”