Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, issued the following statement on the House of Representatives passing the Dream Act with an overwhelming 71-23 vote on the first day of the 2014 legislative session:

“I’m so happy the House got to work on the very first day of session, passing one of the most important pieces of unfinished business from last year.

“In this modern economy, higher education is so important to getting a great job, and the Dream Act will give a new generation of Washingtonians the opportunity to further their education and contribute to our economy. We have smart and hard-working kids growing up here who just want to be able to get jobs here, in the place they call home. By opening access to financial aid, the Dream Act gives them a chance to learn engineering, computer science, and other skills that our modern economy needs to grow.

“The Dream Act passed the House with wide bipartisan support and I know that if it were to receive a vote on the Senate floor, it would pass with similar support here. The only question will be if the Senate Republican leadership puts politics aside and allows the Senate an opportunity to vote on this important bill. This bill, and the kids it will support, deserves the chance for a vote.”