Defiant protesters boldly set up a tent inside Capitol rotunda.
It was "Family Friendly Friday" in Olympia today, with the Children's Alliance holding their "Have a Heart for Kids Day" rally on the Capitol steps. Several hundred parents, kids, and children's advocates showed up to make their case for preserving funding for children's services. Five legislators (out of 147) also showed their faces in support, including Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-32), who spoke briefly to the crowd.
Goldy | The Stranger
Parents, kids, and children advocates rally on Capitol steps.
Of course, we all know about the billions dollars of cuts already made to both K-12 and higher education, and that hurts all our kids, throughout the state. But as the legislature looks to slice an additional $2 billion from an already butchered budget, some of our youngest and most vulnerable Washingtonians are in line to shoulder a disproportionate share of the cuts. After the rally, the Children's Alliance brought supporters of all ages into the Capitol to lobby legislators to preserve crucial programs like Apple Health for Kids, state food assistance, and child care assistance for thousands of working families. To pay for these programs the Children's Alliance is also advocating for new revenue.
Legislators who oppose new revenue for any reason (i.e., Republicans), will tell you that the state simply cannot afford such services anymore in an era of perpetually lower state revenues... you know, what the Seattle Times editorial board likes to call "a new economic normal." But without these programs, the Children's Alliance argues, nearly 15,000 kids would go hungry, thousands would lose access to affordable health care, and many working parents would be forced to quit their jobs for want of affordable childcare.
After the rally, children gathered to sign a proclamation demanding that lawmakers do their job to protect them. "When grownups do their jobs for kids," explained one of the children, "everyone is better off." Watch: