Washington STRONG

Immediately provides a multi-billion dollar dedicated investment to transition to a sustainable economy without leaving anyone behind

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WA STRONG Act Inspires Enormous Turnout for Committee Hearing

More than 1,000 supporters of the bill signed in “pro” for Thursday’s hearing on Senate Bill 5373 which would provide billions in immediate relief for WA’s hardest hit communities

For Immediate Release | March 4, 2021

Contact: Crystal Fincher

(206) 651-4642, crystal@fincherconsulting.com 


OLYMPIA -- At the first committee hearing for the WA STRONG Act, more than a thousand Washingtonians from across the state representing a broad range of perspectives came out to express their support for the bill. The Washington STRONG Act, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), would impose an economy wide price on carbon pollution to unlock upwards of $16 billion of direct investment in transportation, green infrastructure, forest health, broadband, and more while creating upwards of 150,000 jobs statewide. 


At the hearing, House cosponsors Rep. Lekanoff, Shewmake, Harris-Talley, and Hackney delivered powerful testimony about the need for immediate, bold action on the climate crisis that WA STRONG would make possible. The WA STRONG Act also drew support from local government officials, residents in rural communities, healthcare providers, faith leaders, scientists, small farmers, and other industry officials during the hearing. 


The bill was carefully constructed in partnership with House colleagues, bond experts, economists, legal counsel, and environmental justice advocates. The collaborative effort sought to minimize impacts on front line communities, agricultural and timber sectors, moderate and low-income households, and energy intensive and trade exposed (EITE) businesses.


The funding would make countless infrastructure projects possible, from ventilation and heating system upgrades in schools and hospitals to broadband expansion in rural and underserved communities.


Here’s what Washingtonians had to say about why they support WA STRONG:


“We support SB 5373 [because] it generates much needed revenue for healthier communities and good jobs and sustainable infrastructure, and largely avoids turning clean air and water into commodities via carbon markets,” testified Judy Twedt, a member of UAW 4121. “[WA STRONG] uses the health disparities map to guide equity oriented investments and strengthens the urgently needed turn away from our dependence on fossil fuels, which burdens poor people, younger people, and people of color the most.”


“It is unacceptable to continue to put band-aids on bullet wounds and Washington STRONG will be the first step in addressing climate change at the scale which it requires,” testified Sasha Zhang, a youth activist with Sunrise Tacoma. “My mom has always told me to do what is right, not what is easy. So I’m asking you to do the same. My future is in your hands and we all deserve the chance for a livable future.”


“Washington STRONG is an incredible economic investment tool that can generate billions in funding to specifically help rural Washington communities by building the climate conscious infrastructure needed to support growth, accommodate remote workers through broadband, and catalyze business post-pandemic throughout the entire state” testified Jill Boudreau, Mayor of Mount Vernon.


“This bill goes further than any climate bill has for supporting agriculture,” testified Lora Rathbone, a member of the Faith Action Network from the Tri-Cities. “This bill will make sure rural communities can maintain their way of life by offering a financial bridge to transition to a low carbon economy.”


“We know the best way to identify a working solution is to talk to people on the front lines and Senator Lovelett has done just that,” testified Guillermo Rogel, Legislative Advocate with Front & Centered. “This bill follows in the footsteps of the Clean Energy Transformation Act and President Biden's executive order by ensuring that climate investments create targeted benefits statewide in the frontline communities that face the greatest fossil fuel and climate impacts to ensure Washington meets its environmental and climate goals.”


“Washington STRONG isn’t just a green bill, it’s a public health measure. And God knows we’ve needed public health,” testified Annemarie Dooley, a healthcare provider and advocate from Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “I am weary of seeing the same vulnerable patients end up in the hospital in this pandemic. The same patients using inhalers because they're exposed to persistent air pollution in their neighborhood, but Washington STRONG offers some hope: billions of dollars in investments in the communities, schools, and hospitals who are hardest hit.”


The bill now awaits a vote in the Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee. Due to the legislation’s potential to raise new revenue, it is not subject to the March 9 House of Origin cutoff in the Legislature. A full recording of the hearing in the  Environment, Energy & Technology Committee is available from TVW and more information about the Washington STRONG Act can be found at wastrong.org.

 

Support from Labor

Judy Twedt, UAW 4121

 

Support from Youth

Sasha Zhang, Sunrise Tacoma

 

Support from Local Government

Jill Boudreau, Mayor of Mount Vernon

 

Support from Faith Community

Lora Rathbone, Faith Action Network

 

Support from Environmental Justice

Guillermo Rogel, Front and Centered

 

Support from Healthcare

Annemarie Dooley, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

 

Support from Rural Community

Robert Schutte, Ag and Rural Caucus