Champions for Children are state lawmakers recognized by Children’s Alliance for their work to further our annual legislative agenda. Each of the following legislators provided significant leadership during the 2021 legislative session in advancing state policies or investments to improve the well-being of children in Washington.
This year, we recognize 20 lawmakers whose leadership was critical in passing the excise tax on capital gains and the landmark Fair Start for Kids Act. Children’s Alliance was honored to work with allies, community members, and advocates across the state to realize these achievements.
Sen. Claire Wilson (D-30th), vice chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, was prime sponsor of the Senate version of the Fair Start for Kids Act, which created unprecedented new access to high quality early learning and other supports for babies, toddlers and preschool-age children.
Rep. Tana Senn (D-41st), chair of the Children, Youth and Families Committee, was prime sponsor of the House version of the Fair Start for Kids Act. Rep. Senn’s visionary leadership paves the way for crucial new investments in the state’s early learning infrastructure, now and in years to come.
Rep. Noel Frame (D-36th) chair of the House Finance Committee, was the prime sponsor of the capital gains tax, raising crucial progressive revenue for the investments outlined in the Fair Start for Kids Act as well as for K-12 educational opportunity, health care and other vital needs.
Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-3rd) consistently spoke up among his caucus for early learning and provided significant leadership to spur the passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act.
Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-40th), a champion for multiple progressive issues, delivered a stirringly persuasive floor speech in support of the Fair Start for Kids Act.
Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-34th), vice chair of the Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, provided steadfast support for Children’s Alliance campaign priorities including progressive revenue and early learning.
Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-28th), vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, gave a strong floor speech in favor of the Fair Start for Kids Act, acting as a persuasive voice among her colleagues for investments in kids and families.
Sen. Emily Randall (D-26th), chair of the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, provided strategic leadership by carrying a multimillion-dollar request for investments in child care and early learning to her colleagues during the Senate budget planning process.
Sen. June Robinson (D-38th), vice chair, Operating & Revenue, of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, championed passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act and the capital gains tax. Senator Robinson’s leadership in budget negotiations was instrumental in realizing unprecedented new investments in early learning.
Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-37th), a stalwart voice for racial equity and progressive revenue, helped champion the passage of the capital gains tax.
Rep. Jessica Bateman (D-22nd) took a leadership role in passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act and spoke eloquently in favor of the bill on the House Floor.
Rep. April Berg (D-44th), vice chair of the Finance Committee, is an emerging leader for kids, families and communities who took bold stands in support of early learning and revenue, including the capital gains tax.
Rep. Liz Berry (D-36th) gave a strong floor speech for passage of the Fair Start for Kids, urging legislators of both parties to pass the bill.
Rep. Lisa Callan (D-5th) used her strong leadership this session for early learning and educational opportunity for children and youth in the juvenile rehabilitation system.
Rep. Debra Entenman (D-47th) is a strong leader for the early childhood and child care infrastructure, prompting her colleagues to pay particular attention to the needs of early childhood professionals of color.
Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley (D-37th), vice chair of the Children, Youth & Families Committee, is a leading policymaker on issues of racial equity who took a leadership role in securing passage of the capital gains tax.
Rep. Jesse Johnson (D-30th), vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, is a leader in improving youth-serving systems, including access to legal counsel in juvenile rehabilitation; Johnson provided crucial support to progressive revenue through passage of the capital gains tax.
Rep. Alicia Rule (D-42nd) took an active role in securing passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act through her position as vice chair of the Children, Youth & Families Committee and in persuasive House floor addresses to her colleagues.
Rep. Sharon Shewmake (D-42nd) is a champion of progressive revenue and early learning, speaking eloquently in favor of House passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act.
Rep. Emily Wicks (D-38th), a champion for racially equitable policy solutions, helped secure passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act through her position on the Children, Youth & Families Committee and in remarks on the House floor.
For more information about Champions for Children: Stephan Blanford, executive director.