Patty in the News

While so much attention these days is on Mexicans crossing the border coming north, Washington farmers are pretty upset about what's not crossing the border going south….Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., questioned Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday about when a resolution will be found to the potato crisis, which is costing Washington growers tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs….."The tariffs undermine our farmers' competitiveness -- and they are killing jobs and devastating communities," Murray told the secretary….It may be an international issue, but it comes home to us right here in Benton and Franklin counties. The only thing to do is sort it out and fix it. Murray is leading that effort.

Tri-City Herald
At a hearing of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee on May 6, Washington state Sen. Patty Murray urged Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to resolve a year-old trade dispute with Mexico when the United States and Mexico meet for an official state visit later this month. In March of 2009, Mexico instituted increased import taxes on an estimated $2.4 billion worth of domestic goods in response to a cross-border trucking dispute with the United States. The tariffs were a retaliatory measure after the U.S. Congress – pressured by interests from the Teamsters Union – failed to meet U.S. obligations to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Wenatchee Business Journal
The Obama administration is "very close" to unveiling a plan that could help end a year-old tariff by Mexico on Washington frozen potatoes and other agricultural products, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., questioned LaHood about the status of administration efforts to resolve a trade dispute that contributed to a $19.7 million decline in the value of exported Washington agricultural products to Mexico in 2009 compared with 2008.

Tri-City Herald
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today praised the City of Bellevue’s Bel-Red Corridor at a hearing of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, which she chairs. The hearing was held to examine the Obama Administration’s plans to encourage sustainable community development across the country. Murray, who visited the Corridor last year, held Bellevue’s project up as a national model for the type of comprehensive approach to sustainable, environmentally-conscious development that needs to be encouraged across the country.

- Bellevue Reporter
U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., launched the United States Senate Aerospace Caucus on Thursday with a luncheon featuring Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Michael Donley "(W)e know what happens to an industry in our country when it doesn't have a plan for the future. The U.S. auto industry give us a fresh and painful cautionary tale," Murray said, according to a printed copy of her remarks.

- SeattlePI.com
Mexico's president intends to discuss a tariff his government imposed on Washington frozen potatoes and other agricultural products with President Obama during a state visit later this month, Sen. Patty Murray's office said Tuesday…."I feel very strongly that Washington state farmers and families shouldn't be punished for a diplomatic dispute they had nothing to do with," Murray told Sarukhan, according to her office. "I urge the Mexican government to take a hard look at their list of retaliatory tariffs and end the ones that are hurting so many Washington state families." Murray's office said she also plans to push Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to explain how the administration plans to resolve the dispute when he appears Thursday before the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, which the senator chairs.

Tri-City Herald
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., reaffirmed her commitment to Hanford worker safety last week at a meeting of the HAMMER Steering Committee and received a standing ovation. The HAMMER training center is more important than ever as thousands of new workers have been hired with federal economic stimulus money, she said. "It's an extremely high priority for me, and I've worked hard over the years to ensure it gets the support it needs from the federal government to continue doing its great work," she said. Under the new Mission Support Alliance contract, the training center now receives annual funding through programmatic accounts that the Obama administration budgets for, rather than as an add-on appropriation.

Tri-City Herald
Years ago, Brett Olson's father came home from a stint in the Navy and struggled to stay afloat. The family was living in a friend's basement apartment as weeks of unemployment turned into months….The program got an extra boost last month, when U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visited with VICE trainees. Last week she introduced the Veterans Employment Act of 2010 — the first legislation to try to stem rising unemployment rates among veterans. The bill would, among other things, allow returning veterans to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for worker-training programs. It also would create programs that find ways for them to build on the skills learned in the military, and market themselves as civilians.

Seattle Times
The deadliest refinery blast in a decade has Sen. Patty Murray calling for change. On Tuesday, Murray, D-Wash., grilled federal inspectors who reviewed Tesoro's safety measures shortly before the fatal accident in Anacortes earlier this month. The senator says the shortcomings she found make no sense

KOMO TV
Two days after a memorial service for the seven workers killed in an explosion at an Anacortes oil refinery, the head of the federal agency that oversees worker safety said Washington state has a solid program for inspecting dangerous workplaces. But David Michaels, the assistant labor secretary who head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, admitted during a congressional hearing Tuesday that there are gaps in federal law that needed to be closed. Under questioning from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Michaels said no one is keeping track of the safety records of companies that operate refineries in multiple states… “Nothing we can do can bring back your loved ones,” Murray said, calling the Anacortes refinery blast a “terrible tragedy.

The News Tribune