Constituents from across Washington state will join Senator Murray as virtual guests for President Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced four guests that will join her virtually for President Biden’s address to Congress and the nation. Senator Murray, who is attending virtually, will also be joined virtually by Patty Liu, a working mom from Seattle impacted by the child care crisis; Laura Winn, a working mom from Ellensburg and college student who got important help from the expanded child tax credit; Dr. Elaine Placido, the Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and a local leader on the environment and climate action; and Rodney Crawston, Chairman of the Colville Business Council and a local Tribal leader.

“In the first 100 days of the Biden Administration, Democrats worked quickly to enact a relief package with policies that put workers, families and communities first—and begins to meet the scale and scope of the pandemic. We’re already seeing the results of that action, with more than 200 million vaccine doses administered, and billions in relief going straight into the pockets of struggling families across Washington state. But if we want to build back stronger and fairer once we get through this pandemic, we can’t just get back to normal when normal wasn’t working for so many families and communities in the first place,” Senator Murray said. “That’s why I’m pleased to be joined virtually for President Biden’s address by constituents from across Washington state whose stories reflect our shared priorities as we chart the path ahead. Whether it’s making sure quality child care is within reach for every family, delivering on paid leave and health care, or making a serious investment to tackle the housing crisis, I look forward to hearing President Biden’s vision for the future of our country. I will continue to partner closely with the administration to ensure we are making an investment that will put Washington state families first – on housing, transit, health care, education, climate change, and every other critical issue facing our communities.”

Ahead of President Biden’s official address, Senator Murray will host a twitter live with her guest, Patty Liu, where the two will discuss their personal experiences with child care and why Congress must invest in making child care affordable and accessible for all working families.

The Senator’s guests will also join the Senator for a special virtual reception ahead of the President’s address.

“Like so many other parents, I adore my children and being a mom, and I also love my career, and I should be able to do both. This pandemic has laid bare for everyone else to see what parents, what moms, have long known—that the current child care system isn't working, and if child care isn't working neither can we. Our country cannot continue to rely on individuals, mostly women, to do the work that we should be doing together as a society. I’m thankful to Senator Murray for securing much needed support for parents and child care providers in the American Rescue Plan, and for bringing this conversation to the forefront and fighting to include long term solutions for both working parents and early learning professionals through her Child Care for Working Families Bill,” said Patty Liu, working mom of two and Seattle resident.

Last week at a press call with Senator Murray, Patty Liu detailed having to reduce her hours at work due to a lack of access to child care during the pandemic and eventually losing her job as a result. Liu currently resides in South Seattle with her husband and their two adorable, rambunctious children, ages five and two. Back when she had spare time away from her kids, Patty enjoyed growing food in her garden, expanding her vinyl collection, and not listening to ‘Baby Shark’ 50 times in a row.

A former pre-school teacher and the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Murray has stressed the importance of child care in order to help working families get back to work and help build a fairer economy. Last week she reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, a comprehensive child care and early learning bill to make child care affordable for working families, expand access to preschool programs for 3- and 4-year olds, improve the quality of care for all children, and increase compensation and provide training for child care workers. Senator Murray was also instrumental in securing $40 billion in child care relief, including $635 million for Washington state, as part of the American Rescue Plan.

“I’m a working mom to four girls and I’m also a senior at Central Washington University in the Public Health Program. This year has been a struggle for my family – I had to juggle work and school while my kids were sent home during the pandemic. For me, the child tax credit helped alleviate some of financial burden that has piled on this past year. Because of my academic work helping with contact tracing and case investigations for COVID-19, I had to cut my hours at work – the child tax credit helped me pay down my credit cards and put some money in saving to get me through my final semester of college this spring. I’m so glad Senator Murray is fighting for our kids and families to expand the child tax credit permanently and I look forward to hearing more from the President about what he’ll be doing to support working parents like me,” said Laura Winn, mother to four and Central Washington University student.

Laura Winn is the working mother of four girls and currently a senior at Central Washington University in the Public Health Program. She currently resides in Ellensburg and credits the expanded child tax credit with helping get her family through the pandemic.

As the Assistant Democratic Leader, Senator Murray was instrumental in shepherding the American Rescue Plan through the Senate, which expanded the Child Tax Credit and put money in the pockets of millions of families across the country. After hearing overwhelming support for the expanded Child Tax Credit from Washington state families, Senator Murray is now pushing to make the expanded tax credit permanent.

“I appreciate Senator Murray communicating to Congress the critical need for housing relief and funding for Washington state, and especially Tribes.  The American Rescue Plan was the largest ever federal investment in Tribes, including more than a billion for Tribal housing and while this will help us to get through the pandemic, tribes need to create sustainable, resilient communities, with diverse housing to support a diverse community.  Tribes need housing for working professionals including low income and the homeless. I encourage the President and Congress to work with Senator Murray to prioritize the housing needs of Tribes going forward and pass President Biden’s American Jobs Plan to make long overdue investments in affordable housing,” said Rodney Cawston, Chairman of the Colville Business Council.

Rodney Cawston is the Chairman of the Colville Business Council. He descends from the Nez Perce, Lakes and Okanogan Tribes. He has more than 20 years of work experience with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in archives record management, language preservation, natural resources, and government service.

In the American Rescue Plan, Senator Murray helped secure $404 million in emergency rental and utility assistance for Washington state renters, more than $173 million in homeowner assistance for Washington state families, and more than $29 million in Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) funding for Tribes across Washington state. This followed the December COVID relief package, in which Senator Murray helped to secure $507 million for Washington state and $25 billion nationally for states, Tribes, and territories to provide rental and utility assistance. In the American Rescue Plan, Senator Murray also worked to include $20 billion in relief for Tribal governments to combat COVID-19 and stabilize Tribal community safety-net programs. Senator Murray has consistently been a vocal advocate for federal funding to both tackle the housing crisis and to support Tribes.

“As Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, my work is focused on protecting our environment for everyone who relies on the estuary, but particularly for our children – and a big part of that is mitigating the impacts of climate change. I’m glad that Senator Murray understands the urgency of doing everything we can to take meaningful action on the climate right now. I’m excited to see the President prioritize clean energy in his proposed infrastructure package, including provisions like Senator Murray’s initiative to electrify the nation’s school buses. If we want to preserve everything we love about Washington state we have to work together – I’m hopeful the President will discuss ways he will continue to work with leaders like Senator Murray to take bold steps to tackle the climate crisis and preserve our environment for future generations,” said Dr. Elaine Placido, Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.

Dr. Elaine Placido is the Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, a bi-state nonprofit National Estuary Program that works to improve water quality in the lower Columbia river estuary. Elaine joined the Estuary Partnership in 2020 after many years in local government.

As the country faces the dire threat presented by the climate crisis, Senator Murray is committed to taking urgent action to protect current and future generations from the harmful effects of climate change. Earlier this year, Senator Murray led her colleagues in introducing the Clean School Bus Act, which would provide $1 billion for grants to help school districts across the country replace traditional school buses with electric ones. President Biden included key provisions of Murray’s bill in his American Jobs Plan, which Senator Murray supports, as well as other key provisions such as targeting 40% of the bill’s benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities, investing $100 billion to bolster the country’s electric grid and phase out fossil fuels and $174 billion in electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure, and establishing a civilian climate corps. Senator Murray has also been a longtime champion of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which would permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.