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  • Permalink Gallery

    Ranker: Levy extension prevents our children’s schools from largest education cut in state history

Ranker: Levy extension prevents our children’s schools from largest education cut in state history

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the following statement on today’s passage of the levy cliff extension:

“I am relieved that the Senate took action to prevent our children’s schools from an immediate loss of nearly $400 million in short term funding by passing a bill that would extend the so-called levy cliff — the expiration of school levies that would result in slashed budgets in districts across the state. This has taken a massive amount of work — and it is worth it!

“With passage of this bill, teachers and administrators can do what they do best — educate our children.
And now, the Legislature can get back to working on long-term education funding solutions.

“As the lead Senate Democrat on the budget, I will negotiate a budget to fully and fairly fund our children’s schools across the state. I am hopeful we can now come together to develop a solution that benefits all of Washington’s 1.1 million public school children into the future.“

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    Sen. Ranker’s term as Pacific NorthWest Economic Region President comes to a close

Sen. Ranker’s term as Pacific NorthWest Economic Region President comes to a close

July 23rd, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker’s one-year term as President of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region came to a close Wednesday during a ceremony in Whistler, British Columbia with the formal passing of the gavel to the organization’s incoming President David Ramsey.

Ranker, who represents the 40th Legislative District in the Washington State Senate, said he plans to remain heavily involved in PNWER and looks forward to the leadership of Ramsey, who also serves as Northwest Territories Minister of Justice and Industry, Tourism, and Investment, as well as Minister responsible for the NWT Public Utilities Board.

“PNWER is the best example there is of what can be accomplished when states, provinces and countries work together to advance the goals of their governments, businesses and their people,” Ranker said. “It was an absolute honor and privilege to serve as President of such an exemplary organization that will only continue to thrive under President Ramsey’s leadership.

“My time with PNWER is far from over. I will do everything I can to continue to maximize the potential of our beautiful corner of the world for the betterment of our district, our state and our country.”

During his term as President, Ranker’s achievements for PNWER included:

  • The first ever Climate and Energy Dialogue in Banff, Alberta where for the first time representatives from all ten PNWER jurisdictions discussed ways to work together toward lowering carbon emissions.
  • PNWER’s third Arctic Forum at the Capital Building in Washington, DC was attended by many PNWER members and the entire Alaskan Congressional delegation.
  • PNWER’s Sixth Annual Legislative Leadership Academy in Banff, Alberta which helps leaders in both countries understand the practical differences between U.S. and Canadian politics and government.
  • PNWER’s continued input from regional stakeholders to both federal governments for the Beyond the Border Initiative and Regulatory Cooperation Council announced by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in February 2011.
  • The expansion of the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute (LEHI) certificate program from a two-year course to an annual program. The program is designed for legislators to understand the functionality of the region’s energy infrastructure.

“Sen. Ranker has been an outstanding leader for the state of Washington, and has put an outstanding effort into working regionally to find solutions to cross-border issues,” said PNWER Executive Director Matt Morrison.

Formed in 1991, PNWER is a non-partisan, public-private partnership that includes Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories in Canada; and Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana in the United States. The regional partnership of 10 U.S. states and Canadian provinces works to increase the economic well-being, coordinate energy, economic and environmental strategies and enhance the competitiveness of the region. The partnership represents a combined regional GDP of $1 trillion.

Ranker was first appointed as the delegate from Washington State to PNWER in 2010. He served as the organization’s vice president in the two years leading up to his election as PNWER’s President.

The PNWER president heads the executive committee, which is the decision-making body of PNWER. The president also represents the organization in annual visits to Washington, D.C., Ottawa, and state and provincial capitals within the region. The PNWER president and vice-president must be elected officials. These two posts alternate annually between elected legislators from the United States and Canada.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Hundreds turn out to offer solutions in fight against greenhouse gas emissions

Hundreds turn out to offer solutions in fight against greenhouse gas emissions

October 24th, 2013|

SEATTLE – Well over 500 people gathered in Seattle on Wednesday night to offer suggestions, solutions and what the state’s priorities should be in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW) held the second of three public hearings so that the public had a chance to voice their opinion on this global concern.

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, said he was pleased with the level of participation and enthusiasm by those in attendance saying, “I think 12 year-old Zoe said it best, ‘You adults must get your act together, because when you’re gone, I’ll still be here!’”

The CLEW Workgroup, which was established through SB 5802, which Ranker prime sponsored in 2013, includes Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate, is tasked with recommending a course of action and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that, if implemented, would achieve the state’s emission reduction limits set by the 2008 legislature. Ranker sent a letter of his own recommendations to the Workgroup last week regarding how to achieve this goal.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Ranker said he was optimistic that bipartisan solutions can be reached to combat this universal issue, but added that if the legislature does not act, the people must.

“I can’t overstate how encouraged I am after listening to person after person testify about the severity of this problem and the dire need to find a solution,” he said. “The people who came here tonight offered some very compelling ideas and some equally achievable solutions to a problem that in one way or another impacts us all. It is my sincere hope that we will listen and take bold actions to lead the world with regard to addressing climate change. And if we don’t… we should be held accountable and the people should lead.”

Of the nearly hundred people who testified, only four testified in opposition to taking action.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Washington Conservation Voters name Ranker 2013 Legislator of the Year

Washington Conservation Voters name Ranker 2013 Legislator of the Year

October 2nd, 2013|

Seattle – Washington Conservation Voters, the political voice for the environment, today awarded State Senator Kevin Ranker (D-40) its highest honor by naming him the 2013 “Legislator of the Year.”  Senator Ranker was bestowed this award for his outstanding leadership during and following the 2013 Legislative Session.

“Senator Ranker was instrumental in stopping dozens upon dozens of environmental rollbacks and spearheading efforts that would protect our environment and aggressively tackle climate change,” said WCV Executive Director Brendon Cechovic, “He was our most effective champion and we can always count on him to stand up for our communities and a healthy environment.”

Highlights from the 2013 Legislative Session include:

? As prime sponsor, Senator Ranker worked with Governor Inslee to pass the new Governor’s first significant bill to address climate change and has been a strong voice for carbon reduction as a member of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup.

? Senator Ranker led the effort to defeat over a dozen attempts to severely weaken I-937, the Clean Energy Initiative, which to date has helped generate over $8 billion in renewable energy and green jobs in Washington State.

? He defended the Model Toxics Control Account (MTCA), the state’s most effective program for cleaning up toxics waste sites, preventing future toxic sites, and empowering local communities facing toxic threats.

? As the Senate Democrats’ leader for Natural Resource budget items, Senator Ranker successfully navigated budget negotiations to secure an unprecedented level of funding for programs to restore Puget Sound, reduce toxic stormwater runoff, and promote recreation.

“As the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment Committee, it was Senator Ranker who stepped up to block the Majority Caucus’ anti-environmental agenda time and time again this past session,” said WCV State Lobbyist Clifford Traisman.

Upon hearing the announcement, Senator Ranker was honored to receive the news.  He responded, “A healthy environment is critical for not only our natural and recreational resources, but the thousands of jobs that depend upon them in Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan Counties, and throughout our great state.  I’m proud to work alongside WCV to tackle the many challenges we face like dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning up Puget Sound, and creating a new clean energy future for all Washingtonians.”

###

Legislator of the Year is WCV’s highest honor, awarded to one state legislator each year. Senator Ranker will be featured at Washington Conservation Voters’ Annual Breakfast on Thursday, October 10th.

For interviews, contact Sen. Kevin Ranker at (360) 786-7678

For more information, contact Aaron Wasser at (360) 786-7333

  • Permalink Gallery

    Sen. Ranker Op-ed: State ruling ensures women can make health care choices

Sen. Ranker Op-ed: State ruling ensures women can make health care choices

September 3rd, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker recently authored the below op-ed for the Bellingham Herald regarding an opinion issued by the Attorney General on the issue of all hospitals providing the full range of maternity care. You can also read the op-ed online by clicking here.

Our state has a long history of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the rights of women to make health care choices they determine are best for them and their families.

This attitude toward choice began in 1970 – three years before the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade – when Washington became the first and only state to legalize a woman’s right to choose. Years later, in 1991, Washington voters reaffirmed this fundamental right by approving Initiative 120 which requires that when the state provides maternity benefits, services and information to women intending to carry a pregnancy to term, the state also must provide substantially equivalent benefits, services and information to women who may choose to terminate a pregnancy.

It was this wording in the law that Attorney General Bob Ferguson based his thoughtful and thorough opinion in response to my request regarding whether or not this law is broken when public hospital districts contract with a health care provider that does not provide the full range of reproductive health care services.

Public hospital districts (PHDs) are government entities created by statute and governed by a board of publicly-elected commissioners. Their core purpose, and legal mandate, is to provide for the health needs of the district’s residents. Most PHDs are located in areas considered to be rural and play a vital role in meeting the challenges facing rural health care delivery and access.  While PHDs are subject to substantial regulation, they also are able to access tax revenues and low cost bonds, and in some cases are exempt from some forms of taxation.

In short, the Attorney General found that PHDs must provide for the delivery of health care services that will allow women to exercise their full range of fundamental legal reproductive rights.

I was compelled to ask for clarification on this issue because of the increased role faith-affiliated hospitals are playing in our state’s health care system. Due to this increase, I was asked numerous times whether or not these changes meant our residents would no longer have access to certain types of health care services that are typically offered by secular hospitals.

Let me be clear that my request and the Attorney General’s opinion are in no way a trivialization of the quality of care provided by faith-based hospitals. Religious organizations have a long and sacred tradition of delivering critical health care services in this state and throughout our country. Further, they have every right to determine what care they want to provide based on their religious doctrines.

My concern arises when an organization receiving public funds to provide medical services restricts the services they provide based on their religious beliefs. In other words, a privately funded medical provider has the right to limit their services and referrals. But when that organization is publicly funded, I believe strongly that they should provide or refer for all types of health care services – including contraception, abortion and family planning.

The Attorney General’s opinion strongly and broadly states that when contracting for the provision of health care services, PHDs must comply with their statutory duty to assure that the health needs of the district are met through access to maternity services as well as access to contraception and abortion services, regardless of the organization – religious or otherwise – delivering those services. PHDs may meet this obligation through contracting with one or more entities.

It seems that every day we read about a state legislature somewhere in our country that has put up another roadblock preventing women and their families from accessing the full spectrum of reproductive health care.

I am proud that in our state, this is not the case. In our state, we continue to tear down these roadblocks – making sure women can continue to make their own healthcare choices. I applaud the leadership displayed by our Attorney General on this difficult and contentious issue and very much appreciate his diligence in responding to my request for a formal opinion.

Sen. Kevin Ranker represents the 40th legislative district which includes Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan Counties in the Northern Puget Sound.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Sen. Ranker: “Attorney General’s opinion a victory for equal access to health care options”

Sen. Ranker: “Attorney General’s opinion a victory for equal access to health care options”

August 22nd, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the statement below in response to the Attorney General’s opinion regarding health care access provided by public hospital districts:

“From the very start of this process, my concern with the issue of hospital mergers has been whether or not women in our state would continue to have access to the full range of health care options afforded to them by law.

“This opinion clarifies that women served by public hospital districts in our state should and will continue to have those options regardless of the organization – religious or otherwise – delivering those services, if the district provides any other maternity care.

“The Attorney General’s opinion reaffirms what voters intended when they approved I-120; that when the state provides benefits, services and information to women intending to carry a pregnancy to term, the state also must provide substantially equivalent benefits, services and information to those women who chose to terminate a pregnancy.

“Women and their families who are served by the more than 50 public hospital districts in the state will continue to have the assurance they can exercise their legal reproductive rights.

“We are all proud of our state’s history of respecting an individual’s right to access the health care services that are most appropriate for them and their families. This opinion reaffirms that right.”

Ranker town hall focuses on education, environment, transportation

August 22nd, 2013|

RankerVillageBooks2

Sen. Kevin Ranker took part in a town hall-style event Monday, speaking with about 30 people for more than two hours about a wide-range of topics ranging from education, the environment and transportation.

Village Books in the Fairhaven neighborhood in Bellingham hosted the event entitled “Legislator in Your Bookstore.” Ranker provided an overview of the 2013 legislative session, which saw a slim Republican Majority in the Senate prolong a budget battle into two special sessions and a near catastrophic shutdown of state government services.

Ranker answered questions about his priorities and the priorities of his fellow Democrats. Legislation that would have protected women’s health care options, give aspiring citizens a better chance at going to college and reduce gun violence were all obstructed by the one-vote GOP majority.

A fair amount of time was also spent discussing environmental and transportation priorities, including the attempt to build a new bridge to replace the aging Columbia River Crossing.

“I’d like to thank Village Books and everyone that came out to ask questions and listen about the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2013 session,” Ranker said. “Every time I participate in something like this I’m filled with optimism that the majority of Washingtonians are engaged in the process and understand that they have a huge stake in the outcome.”

Sen. Ranker to participate in “Legislator in your Bookstore” event in Bellingham

August 7th, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island will participate in a "Legislator in your Bookstore" event on Aug. 19 at Village Books in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Neighborhood.

The two hour question and answer session will begin at 5:30 p.m. during which time Sen. Ranker hopes to cover a variety of hot topics from the 2013 legislative session such as education, the environment, health care, public safety, the budget and any other issues of concern to the community and the state.

WHAT: Sen. Kevin Ranker at “Legislator in your Bookstore” event

WHERE: Village Books

1200 11th St.

Bellingham, WA 98225

MAP

WHEN: August 19

TIME: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Sen. Ranker pleased with decision to conduct comprehensive environmental impact study of proposed Cherry Point coal terminal project

July 31st, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the statement below following the decision to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact study should the coal export terminal project at Cherry Point move forward:

“This is exactly the decision we have been seeking for several years now since we wrote the first comment letter on this subject. There are significant questions regarding this project and by the time this study is concluded we should have a much greater understanding of the long- and short-term impacts of all aspects of this terminal.

“From the beginning, we have wanted to know the effect on our environment, public safety, traffic and other commerce of shipping the coal from the mine to the terminal, the impact of shipping the coal from the terminal to its final destination and the imprint consumption of this coal will have. This process will get us much closer to having those answers.

“I applaud the Dept. of Ecology and Whatcom County for hearing our concerns and beginning the task of answering the questions many of us have surrounding this project.”

Plan to name Skagit River Bridge in honor of fallen Trooper approved by WSTC

July 30th, 2013|

A plan to honor fallen State Patrol Trooper Sean M. O’Connell Jr. was approved Tuesday during a meeting of the Washington State Transportation Commission in Seattle.

The WSTC approved a request from 40th legislative district legislators Sen. Kevin Ranker and Reps. Jeff Morris and Kristine Lytton to name the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge the Trooper Sean M. O’Connell Jr. Memorial Bridge.

A portion of the bridge collapsed in May and Trooper O’Connell, 38, was killed in a traffic accident while directing traffic through detours setup as a result of the collapse.

“Trooper O’Connell represents the best our state has to offer,” Ranker said. “Naming the bridge in his honor is the least we can do to say thank you to him, his family and friends for his service and sacrifice to our state and its citizens.”

In addition to the letter sent from the 40th District contingent, the WTSC also received letters of support to honor Trooper O’Connell from Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau, Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton, Co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee Sen. Tracey Eide, Chief of the Washington State Patrol John Batiste, the Regional Administrator of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Lorena Eng, and the Skagit County Commissioners.

"The Commission unanimously and enthusiastically agreed to name the bridge for Trooper O’Connell,” said Dan O’Neal, Chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission. “I can’t think of a more fitting tribute."