By Evan Smith
Democratic State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe says that she had proud moments and disappointments during the 2014 Legislative Session.
McAuliffe told constituents recently that the proud moments ranged from improving college readiness by strengthening high school graduation requirements to allowing military service members in-state tuition.
She said that one of her proudest moments was the legislature’s passing the Dream Act, which, she said, will allow all hardworking, low-income students to be eligible for state financial aid, no matter where they were born.
McAuliffe said that her disappointments included the Senate Republican majority’s failure to bring a viable transportation-funding compromise to the table. She said that the lack of a transportation package meant losing 10,000 jobs, as well as critical money for state infrastructure improvements.
She said that she also was disappointed by the Senate majority’s blocking passage of the Capital budget.
“This budget funds building projects across Washington, and would have created 2,500 jobs and provided valuable additional funds for the Mountlake Terrace Town Center and toxic cleanup in Bothell,” she said. “This is the first time since I began in the Senate in 1996 that a capital budget has not been passed. The refusal from the Senate Republican majority to compromise angers me, as we have always worked across the aisle to support the needs of our constituents on capital budget funding.”
McAuliffe represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, part of Kirkland and unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland.
She added that another source of pride came from something that she supported within the district.
“As the senator from the 1st Legislative District, I was able to help secure funding for a new science building at the University of Washington-Bothell. Discovery Hall, which opens this June,” It will provide opportunities for 1,000 new students to work on creative and innovative projects within the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The jobs this training provides are increasingly necessary in the 21st century, and provide family wage positions that are already available right here in Washington state.”
She said that the session also was significant with regards to support for public schools.
“In January, the Supreme Court issued a statement requiring the Legislature to provide a plan by April 30, 2014 that will fulfill our constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education,” she said. “We all know funding our schools is not about a Supreme Court decision. A good education is about ensuring our kids have the best chance at the brightest future. In 2009, promises were made to improve education by lowering class sizes, funding all-day Kindergarten and paying successful teachers a fair market wage.
She said that other important legislation will help veterans and military families go to college at in-state rates.
McAuliffe is ranking minority member of the senate committee on early learning and K-12 education and a member of the higher education committee.