Sen. Ranker Newsroom

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    Ranker Excited for Progressive Agenda as Democrats Take Senate Majority

Ranker Excited for Progressive Agenda as Democrats Take Senate Majority


Last week, with the election of Manka Dhingra, Democrats gained control of the Washington State Senate and we finished building the west coast Blue Wall along with Oregon and California. Now, we begin implementing an agenda that truly represents our core values. We will not only protect the rights of all people — LGBTQ, immigrants, women, children, the poor — but we will support them. We will develop and pass policies in each of our states that support mental health care, homeless in our communities, education from preschool to college, and protecting and cleaning up the environment.

This incredible accomplishment happened because thousands of you did more than you have ever done in so very many ways. You are incredible. I am so very proud to get to represent so many wonderful, special caring people. And I sincerely thank you for empowering me to do more!

We must remember we are not done. We need to build our strength and focus on what can be accomplished in Washington in 2018. We must ensure that all of our efforts at the local and state level are motivated by kindness and love, that our laws protect and celebrate diversity, community and raise each of us to have healthy and happy lives.

Now that Democrats are in the majority in the state Legislature, it is time to address many progressive values that have been stymied for the last five years. This includes passing a state voting rights act, an equal pay act, instituting workplace protections for immigrants and minorities, pushing back on the Trump Administration’s attacks on women’s reproductive rights, providing additional protections for LGBTQ and transgendered populations, protections from oil spills, and legislation that seriously addresses climate change.

I look forward to supporting our colleges and universities, public community and technical colleges, and career schools to prepare and educate Washingtonians for success in a rapidly changing economy as Chair of the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.

In addition to becoming the Chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, I will continue to serve on the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology and Ways & Means Committees.

I find myself reflecting upon a conversation I had with Stella, an incredibly brave trans girl, who inspired me earlier this year to speak around the state about what we can do to make a difference. She left me with something I shared during those talks that is even more powerful and appropriate now.

This is her message:

“If you see anything on Facebook or Twitter that advocates for anything that you support … do it. Show up and support that cause. Also any sort of protest, I would say, go do it. Fight for what you know and think is right. And do it not only for the people you know but do it for yourself. Support business, organizations and people who also believe in the same values. Use your voice. Stand up for others. Most of all be kind, to yourself and others.”

Let us all be motivated by Stella’s words as we advance our agenda in the coming year.

Kevin Ranker

November 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Ranker meets with school administrators to improve and enhance children’s education

OLYMPIA – This week, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D- Orcas Island, met with administrators from Anacortes, Bellingham, Burlington-Edison, Lopez, Mount Vernon, Orcas Island, San Juan Island and Shaw Island school districts to discuss the impacts of HB 2422, the state’s next step in committing more state dollars to K-12  education. Sen. Ranker released this statement on the important insight gained from school administrators and the impacts and challenges local schools face:

“While the state has made a historic investment in our children’s education, we see a need for more flexibility at the local level to meet the unique challenges of each community. We know every homeowner statewide now faces the massive Republican property tax increase this January, possibly hampering school districts’ abilities to pass local levies and fully fund our children’s education.

“Many schools rely on additional teachers, staff and supportive services along with the local support and control of programs. We must find solutions to mitigate any mistakes or gaps within the new education package passed by the legislature.

“The insight and ideas provided by school districts, teachers and communities are immensely important to the legislature’s work. The more the entire legislature hears from every community, we can continue to improve, enhance and support the services and opportunities for every child in every community.

“When we return to Olympia, we will need to work aggressively, and in a bipartisan manner, to ensure the Republican property tax increase is managed or reduced and provide the critical resources for our children’s education that is more equitable to all of Washington’s citizens.”

October 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    As Trump Backtracks, Washington State Must Forge Ahead to Carbon Free Future

As Trump Backtracks, Washington State Must Forge Ahead to Carbon Free Future

By repealing the Clean Power Plan this week, the Trump administration thoughtlessly leaves the country without any serious strategy to uphold the Clean Air Act and meet our obligation to reduce carbon pollution at the federal level. Now more than ever, it is up to state and local governments to come together with leaders from around the world to strengthen our resolve to achieve meaningful carbon pollution reductions.

Last week, I participated in a key trade mission at the invitation of the British Consulate to learn more about what the United Kingdom is doing in advanced offshore renewable energy production. I accompanied tribal and state leaders from Washington and Hawaii, including Nate Tyler, chair of the Makah Nation, and Melvin John Ashue, vice chair of the Hoh Tribe, along with leads from the departments of Commerce and Ecology. We had dozens of productive meetings with government leaders and engineers in England and Scotland and saw firsthand the incredible projects their governments, universities and businesses are developing in new, clean energy technologies.

As we move toward a clean energy future, we must consider all kinds of opportunities and solutions. What we do will determine our economy and the quality of life of communities across our state. At the forefront, tribes are considering renewable energy as a tool to reduce emissions and promote economic development in our communities here in Washington state. On this trip, we spoke extensively with representatives and officials about offshore energy policy, design, construction, safety and management. We traveled out to the Orkney Islands far north of the Scottish mainland. With a population of 22,000 people, the Orkney Islands are now in the forefront when it comes to renewable energy with significant wind and tidal energy deployed — including one tidal unit that generated 158 megawatts in one week. The Orkneys are now 100 percent renewable energy and generate at 120 percent capacity.

I believe strongly that Washington state should have a 100 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and that we should make this happen now. This would make us energy independent while creating thousands of jobs.

Through global partnerships and trade missions like this one, we can learn the best examples of how to move forward as a state and a nation toward a sustainable and exciting clean energy future. We should not build walls between ourselves and other nations, we should instead learn from them to better our own future. In this case, Washington State can learn a great deal from other countries.

Though the Trump Administration seeks to take us backward, we must forge ahead to lead the world toward a carbon free and economically powerful future. Through thoughtful advancement of powerful climate actions — such as eliminating our reliance on coal-fired power entirely from our electrical grid and moving toward a 100 percent RPS — Washington state, like the small Orkney Islands off of Scotland, can build a clean energy future that is not only good for our environment but also good for our economy.

October 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Ranker: Unconscionable that Senate Republicans blocked vote on capital budget

Ranker: Unconscionable that Senate Republicans blocked vote on capital budget

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released this statement today after Senate Republicans refused to allow a vote on the state capital budget:

“It is incredibly unfortunate that on the final day of the special legislative session, the Senate Republicans placed their political agenda ahead of the wellbeing of our children, mentally ill, homeless, and public and private workers.
“While the capital budget had near-unanimous support in the House, the Senate Republicans refused to allow a vote, blocking $4.2 billion in more than 1,400 projects across Washington.

“The budget would have invested in our children by building new classrooms across the state, which would help satisfy the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling and is the right thing to do.

“It would have provided for homeless youth and affordable housing to build a safe place for every person and family to call home.

“The budget would have funded critical beds at Western State Hospital and facilities across the state to maintain federal accreditation and provide the care and service for those facing mental health illnesses.

“The budget also would have supported hundreds of public and more than 19,000 private jobs.

“In our district, the capital budget would have funded critical community and recreation programs in North Puget Sound, and finally create the Harriet Spanel State Forest, also known as Blanchard Mountain.

“It is unconscionable that we would go home without voting on this critical budget. Our job as Senators is to do what is best for our communities and state. It is time for us to come together and govern. I remain fully supportive of the agreed upon, bipartisan capital budget and will work tirelessly to get it passed. It is my hope that Senate Republicans will join us.”

July 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Lt. Governor Habib, Sen. Ranker, to host community forum

Join Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib and Sen. Kevin Ranker for a community discussion Wednesday, July 12, on priority issues in the San Juan region and beyond. The Lt. Governor will discuss the statewide initiatives he has developed since taking office in January, and their potential impact to the San Juan Islands; Sen. Ranker will provide an update on the new budget, its tax implications, and his legislative priorities.

When: Wednesday, July 12, from 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Where: Orcas Senior Center 62 Henry Rd Eastsound, WA 98245

This meeting is an opportunity for constituents to learn about the work their elected officials are doing, and for elected officials to hear from their constituents about the issues affecting their lives. Topics of discussion will include regional economic development, access to higher education, K-12 funding, the operating and capital budgets, and other policy matters.

July 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Late night victories reflect core Democratic values

OLYMPIA – Working late into the night, the Legislature passed important bills in addition to a major education funding package and operating budget that averted a government shutdown. Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, cited several major victories for Washington state:

Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance: “The most progressive paid family leave program in the country will be right here in Washington state,” Ranker said. “At the critical times working families and individuals welcome new additions or face serious health conditions, they can rest assured their bills can be paid and their jobs will be held.” With strong bipartisan support and key approval from labor organizations and businesses, this portable program funded by employees and employers ensures workers can receive the benefits they need for up to 12 weeks on a progressive scale, with lower-wage earners receiving 90 percent of their wages — the highest rate in the country. “This is a major accomplishment for Washington state and stands as a model for the rest of the country,” Ranker said. SB 5975

Close the Big Oil Loophole: For over 50 years, big oil has taken advantage of a unique loophole intended originally only for the timber industry. “After years of hard work, we were able to close a decades-old loophole saving Washington taxpayers tens of millions of dollars that previously were given away to big oil companies,” Ranker said. HB 2163

Solar Industry Support: A critical solar bill enhances the solar production incentive for renewable energy systems, supporting hundreds of jobs, local businesses and renewable energy for our communities. “After several years of collaboration between installers, manufacturers, utilities and environmental groups, the Legislature passed major support for a local, sustainable solar industry in Washington. This bill provides clear incentives and rules to put renewable energy systems on homes and businesses and in communities,” Ranker said. “This is a great step forward in continuing Washington’s solar industry leadership and supporting family-wage jobs and extending the incentive program into the future.” SB 5939

July 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Ranker: state budget reflects Democratic values supported by an unfair Republican property tax increase

Ranker: state budget reflects Democratic values supported by an unfair Republican property tax increase

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the following statement following passage of the 2017-19 state operating budget by the Washington state Senate:

“The final budget and education plan passed today reflects our core Democratic values but unfortunately is funded with a Republican property tax plan. This budget makes a historic $7.3 billion investment in our children’s future. It spends tens of millions more on mental health and homelessness, fully supports family planning and Planned Parenthood, fully funds our state employees, increases funds for higher education, implements the Clean Air Rule, closes tax loopholes on bottled water and big oil and avoids a government shutdown.

“It is primarily funded however, by a $4.1 billion property tax increase that disproportionately impacts many communities across the state. I believe a more progressive plan including other options, such as a carbon tax on polluters, would have provided a better path forward. Unfortunately, the Senate Republicans have insisted on the biggest state property tax increase in our history.

“It is also unacceptable that Senate Republicans delayed negotiations bringing us to the brink of a government shutdown. But while we have passed a budget that reflects our core values, we must commit to developing a new, more progressive funding plan when we have the votes.

“In the end, we’re doing the right thing but raising money in the wrong way.”

June 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Over 550 legislators representing 45 states commit to state action on the Paris Climate Agreement and oppose Trump’s withdrawal

Over 550 legislators representing 45 states commit to state action on the Paris Climate Agreement and oppose Trump’s withdrawal

OLYMPIA – Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker, California State Senator Kevin de León, Massachusetts State Senator Michael Barrett, and over 550 state legislators from across the country issued a statement today committed to maintaining U.S. leadership on fighting climate change and adhering to the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Climate change is not a conspiracy, a hoax, or a partisan cause. Climate change is real and caused by human activity,” said Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker, who initiated the sign-on statement. “Now more than ever, in the wake of the short-sighted decision by the Federal Administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, it is important that state and local governments come together to strengthen our resolve to achieve the carbon pollution reductions agreed to in Paris in 2015.”

California State Senate Leader Kevin de León highlighted the importance acting on climate for the wellbeing of future generations. “By pulling out of the landmark Paris Climate Accord, President Trump demonstrated he doesn’t have what it takes to lead the world in the face of an existential threat like climate change. Now, likeminded leaders from legislatures across the country are coming together to chart a new course for our nation, and the rest of the world. We will continue to honor the goals set by the landmark Paris Agreement to protect the futures of our children, and our children’s children and build the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” said de León.

Signed by President Barack Obama in 2016, the Paris Climate Agreement was designed to combat climate change by keeping global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. The signers signaled their intent for their states meet the goals established in the Agreement, and in many cases, move well beyond them.

“Realizing our state-level commitments is important precisely because Paris is — and always was — intended as a foundation, not as a finish line. After 2025, the angle of descent in carbon reductions needs to point more sharply down. We’re intent on getting ready, because the states must lead the way,” said Massachusetts State Senator Michael Barrett.

“These state legislators are committed to continuing the United States’ leadership in working toward a clean energy economy and lessening the impacts of climate change,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. “Working together, states can continue the country’s global leadership on fighting climate change.”

The statement can be viewed at

June 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Ranker: With Trump administration’s lack of leadership, it is up to Washington to fight climate change

Ranker: With Trump administration’s lack of leadership, it is up to Washington to fight climate change

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the following statement following President Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord:

“Today, the president announced his ill-advised decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, an international treaty designed to combat climate change by keeping global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

“This reckless action cedes leadership to other nations, and combined with the president’s proposed budget, shows a continued lack of leadership in protecting the environment and economy for future generations. Now, more than ever, states must step up. In Washington state, we can continue our global leadership in cleaning up and protecting habitat, investing in clean and renewable technology and educating our children about the environment, but now we must do even more. It is time for our state to put a price on polluters and meet our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and further reduce emissions 25% by 2035.

“People from across Washington state, from every community, are demanding action now to protect the next generation by working to create healthy communities, sustainable energy, green jobs and protection of our beloved, outdoor areas. We cannot wait longer to address this global threat. With the Trump administration’s lack of leadership, it is up to us here in Washington to lead the way in the fight against climate change.”

June 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    325 bipartisan state legislators representing 44 states oppose Trump executive order

325 bipartisan state legislators representing 44 states oppose Trump executive order

OLYMPIA — A bipartisan group of 325 state legislators from 44 states sent a letter to President Trump today raising strong concerns with the unprecedented action to review public lands under an executive order signed late last month. The diverse group of legislators urge the president not to rescind or shrink the lands currently designated as national monuments under the Antiquities Act.

“This action puts our heritage at risk here in Washington and across the country. While a select list of national monuments, including Hanford Reach and San Juan Islands in Washington state, could be under immediate review, the order is a first step that puts all public lands at risk,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, who drafted the letter. “The president’s action serves the needs of some special interest groups while ignoring the needs of millions who enjoy our nation’s most special places and the jobs that depend on them.”

“National monuments hold an important place in our history and culture in the United States. No president has attempted to revoke a national monument before,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of NCEL. “We urge the president to work with Congress and state legislators to increase funding for public land management and boost the surrounding local economies.”

“Public support for protecting special places is strong, and many small communities increasingly depend on tourism and the growing outdoor recreation economy,” said Ranker. “The effort to eliminate or shrink national monuments risks $45 billion generated nationwide by public lands, including national monuments. State legislators will fight for our communities, our heritage and our values to keep public lands in public hands.”

May 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|