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In phone discussions with naval shipyard workers, child care providers, and service providers for children and adults with disabilities, Senator Murray heard about the current challenges in the Peninsula region and shared what she’s doing at the federal level to address them

Senator Murray: “I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make sure that the Peninsula and all of Washington state get the testing supplies, PPE, small business relief and more we need to help respond to and recover from this crisis”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health, education, and labor committee, met by phone with workers, union leaders, child care providers, and service providers for children and adults with disabilities from across the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas to hear about the challenges they are dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Murray also shared what she is doing at the federal level to specifically address these issues, and made clear that she would use these conversations to best advocate for Washington state priorities in Congress.  

“We have to ensure that facts and science continue driving our decision making, and that we take every necessary precaution to protect workers and our workplaces so we’re ready to address this virus moving forward,” Senator Murray said. “So I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make sure that the Peninsula and all of Washington state get the testing supplies, PPE, small business relief and more we need to help respond to and recover from this crisis.”

Senator Murray began the day by talking to workers and union leaders from the Bremerton Metal Trades Council and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 12 to discuss the experiences of essential workers at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. During the call, Senator Murray heard about the measures that workers are taking at the shipyard to keep safe on the job, including wearing masks, practicing good hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing, and about their concerns regarding the Department of Defense’s (DoD) unwillingness to share data on infections at military instillations. Senator Murray highlighted the letter she sent to Defense Secretary Esper on DoD’s poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including questions regarding the Department’s policy on installation-level data, and reiterated that she is pushing for increased and codified protections for workers during this crisis.

Following that conversation Senator Murray spoke with child care providers from across the regions about their work providing vital child care services for local families and the challenges that they are facing during this pandemic. The providers and Senator Murray discussed the troubling lack of available child care services on the Peninsulas, and how without access to safe, quality child care, essential workers will not be able to continue to meet their communities’ needs in the midst of this crisis. Senator Murray emphasized that she is working to include policies in the next coronavirus relief package to ensure child care providers have the necessary resources to safely remain open, educators can continue to get paid, and working families can access the child care they need.

To close the day, Senator Murray held a telephone roundtable with service providers for children and adults with disabilities about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected infants, young children, and adults with disabilities. During the discussion, providers told Senator Murray about how fewer and fewer families are engaging in early intervention programs and issues that adults with disabilities are working to overcome as a result of this crisis. Senator Murray made clear that she has been working to get resources to service providers and families and employment support for adults with disabilities, and that she will continue that work as Congress begins to discuss the next coronavirus relief bill.

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