News Releases

In a phone discussion, Senator Murray heard from public health directors across Southwest Washington about the federal assistance they need to address the COVID-19 crisis 

Shellfish growers and farmers from the region told Senator Murray on a telephone roundtable about the severe toll that the pandemic and response have taken on their industry

Senator Murray: “I’m going to keep fighting to ensure that federal relief efforts address the specific needs of Southwest Washington and every community in our state”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health and labor committee, met by phone with public health directors and officers, as well as shellfish farmers and growers, from counties across Southwest Washington to hear from them about the health care and economic needs of the region, and what Senator Murray can do at the federal level to help Southwest Washington respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In order to slow the spread of this virus and help save lives, every community must have the resources and support they need to protect public health and address the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic toll on workers, families, and small business owners—including in Southwest Washington,” Senator Murray said. “I’m going to keep fighting to ensure that federal relief efforts address the specific needs of Southwest Washington and every community in our state.”

Senator Murray began the day by talking to public health officials from Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, and other Southwest Washington counties to hear directly about how the region is addressing the COVID-19 crisis and the specific challenges they are facing. The public health officers emphasized the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, increased testing, and significant investments in the region’s health care infrastructure. During the discussion, Senator Murray reiterated her commitment to fighting for these provisions and other local priorities in the next federal coronavirus package, and highlighted the proposal offered by Senate Democrats which would require the Trump Administration to submit a strategic plan for testing, provide $150 billion to state, local, and tribal governments to assist with testing purchases, and provide an extra $100 billion for health care providers. Senator Murray also released a roadmap to dramatically expand U.S. testing capacity in Washington state and nationwide earlier this week.

Following that conversation, Senator Murray spoke with shellfish farmers and growers from Willapa Bay to Coupeville who have been struggling significantly during the current crisis. Beginning in January, shellfish sales have dramatically decreased and have not recovered, forcing many growers to lay off employees and leaving numerous farmers unemployed. Growers discussed the difficulties they’ve faced accessing the Small Business Administration’s lending programs, and Senator Murray assured them that she would work to retool and strengthen federal small business assistance programs—including the Paycheck Protection Program—so that crucial agricultural and aquacultural industries, such as the shellfish industry, are not overlooked.