[ WEEK IN REVIEW ]
The Big Special Election of 2017, Meet 45th LD Candidate Manka Dhingra & 10 Worst Trump Budget Cuts
Courtesy of Skagit County Democrats
This was a big week in national and Washington politics - but we'll help you stay up to date on what's going on, and what you can do to help out and advance the cause of progressive policies and politics.
1. Big Special Elections in 2017
As you know, our state Senate is currently under Republican control. But with just a one seat Republican majority, we have a chance to retake the Senate this year!
Three districts represented by Republicans have special elections in November 2017 - the 45th LD, which is in the Redmond/ Kirkland/ Sammamish area and represented by Dino Rossi, the 31st LD, which is around Auburn/ Enumclaw and represented by Phil Fortunato, and the 7th LD, of Ferry/ Pend Oreille/ Stevens counties and represented by Shelly Short. If we win just one of these seats, we can retake a Democratic majority in the Senate THIS YEAR!
2. Meet Manka Dhingra!
Manka Dhingra is the Democratic candidate running in the 45th Legislative District. Manka is a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, an award-winning PTSA mom, and an anti-domestic violence advocate and community leader. She's running to get the Senate back on track on the critical issues like funding education, improving mental health care, and protecting our environment and more.
Much of her work has been in mental health care and helping reform and improve our criminal justice system - helping individuals get the treatment they need to return to society and keeping our communities healthy and safe. She's also a long-time advocate for women's and immigrants' rights - she's worked with law enforcement and local communities to stop hate crimes and domestic violence - issues even more important than ever today, in the time of Trump. And as an education advocate, Manka has been recognized by the PTA with the Golden Acorn award.
This district voted overwhelmingly against Donald Trump last year, and with a great candidate like Manka running, we have a great chance to win this critically important state senate seat! Let's win back the 45th!
3. Top 10 Worst Cuts In Trump's Budget
Trump's proposed budget is out, and we're looking at the top 10 worst cuts he's proposing to make in programs critical to Washington families and communities. Trump's budget makes his priorities clear - he wants the government to fund a military and Defense Department, and that's about it. And in government, like the family budget, your priorities are made clear by what you fund. Here's are those cuts:
- Transportation: Trump's budget would cut important local infrastructure projects including funding to help build Link light rail in Lynnwood, Federal Way, & Tacoma and expand Bus Rapid Transit in Spokane, Everett, & Seattle.
- Environmental: The budget makes massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency - cutting the budget by 31% and laying off a fifth of the employees. It would end funding for climate change research, cut funding for clean up of SuperFund toxic waste sites, and reduce grants to help cities and states fight air pollution.
- Agriculture and Farming: Trump proposes to cut billions from the Agriculture Department, hurting farmers and needy families. He'd cut hundreds of millions from Women/Infant/Children Nutrition Assistance, and rural development and research grants would be on the chopping block as well. Even the Meals On Wheels program and after-school lunches for poor children would be cut!
- College Access and Affordability: The budget would cut $3.9 billion from Pell Grants, financial aid that's critical to helping students and families afford college. This budget would close the door of opportunity to millions and prevent students from getting the skills, experience, and training they need to succeed.
- Jobs: The 21 percent proposed cut in the Labor Department reduces funding for job training programs that benefit seniors and disadvantaged youth. The budget eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income seniors find work and closes poor-performing centers for Job Corps, a job-training program for disadvantaged youth
- Health and Scientific Research: Health and Human Services would face devastating cuts, and more than a third of the $15.1 billion in cuts would affect the National Institutes of Health, the government's main engine of biomedical research.
- Children: The Education Department faces a $9 billion cut under the Trump administration budget, which would downsize or eliminate a raft of grants, including for teacher training, after school programs, and aid to low-income and minority college students. These colossal cuts to our schools are a betrayal of our commitment to students. While the budget doesn't detail effects on the Head Start preschool program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, these important supports for vulnerable children could be slashed as well.
- Housing and FEMA: The Trump budget would cut $6 billion from affordable housing and community development grants - grants that have funded important projects like recovery from natural disasters and improvements in low-income neighborhoods.
- Weather and Hurricane: Tornado and Tsunami preparedness - We didn't think that NOAA and the National Weather Service would be partisan targets - shouldn't everyone want decent weather forecasting? But Trump's budget would cut funding from all sorts of weather and coastal programs at the Department of Commerce, including helping coastal communities prepare for storms, satellites for tracking weather and supporting forecasting, and climate change research efforts.
- The Arts and Public Broadcasting: We spend hardly any public money on the arts, especially when compared to military spending. But Trump's budget would still eliminate the $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - aka PBS and NPR - as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and funding for libraries and museums across the country.