In visits with residents in Toledo and Vancouver, Senator Murray discussed bold new legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for working families in Washington state, nationwide 

During a roundtable discussion at Toledo High School Senator Murray shared details on her new Digital Equity Act, which would create two new federal grant programs to promote digital literacy and education programs in communities nationwide 

Senator Murray: “We want to make sure that we don’t just get broadband to people, but they actually have the skills, they know how to use it, they feel confident, and they have the ability within their community to learn those skills.” 

At Vancouver’s LiUNA! Union Hall, Senator Murray joined workers to discuss her recently-introduced Protecting the Right to Organize Act that strengthens federal protections for workers to form a union

ICYMI: The Columbian: In Vancouver, Sen. Murray touts bill backing unions

(Washington, D.C.)  – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate education and labor committee, visited communities in Southwest Washington where she discussed her plans to strengthen federal protections for working families and help ensure no one is left behind in our rapidly-evolving world. In Toledo, WA, Senator Murray visited Toledo High School where she toured the school’s digital resources and sat for a conversation with local elected officials and school leaders, as well as teachers, students and small business owners, to discuss her new legislation to close the digital skills gap, the Digital Equity Act.

During the discussion, Senator Murray heard more about Toledo’s trailblazing work to expand rural broadband access and increase digital literacy to provide community members with the skills they need to compete in an increasingly digital world. Students, such as Toledo High School freshman Wyatt Nef, discussed how the school’s digital literacy programs had already helped them to become more comfortable and confident using technology, and Toledo Superintendent Chris Rust emphasized how the grants set up by the Digital Equity Act would help the Toledo School District to improve and expand upon these programs. Senator Murray also shared additional details about how her legislation would bring the federal government to the table to support efforts like those happening in Toledo to promote digital equity and ensure everyone has the skills, resources, and support necessary to take full advantage of the internet.

“One of the things I feel so passionately about is that we are becoming a nation of haves and have-nots when it comes to having access to digital,” said Senator Murray Wednesday in Toledo. “We want to make sure that we don’t just get broadband to people, but they actually have the skills, they know how to use it, they feel confident, and they have the ability within their community to learn those skills.”

For more information about the Digital Equity Act, visit HERE.

In Vancouver, WA, Senator Murray visited the LiUNA! Union Hall to participate in an in-depth roundtable discussion with local union members and workers about her recently-introduced Protecting the Right to Organize Act—or PRO Act—that aims to restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to act collectively and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.

During the roundtable, Senator Murray heard directly from working people in the Vancouver-area—including electricians, ironworkers, and teachers—about the benefits of organizing for workers, as well as some of the challenges workers face when trying to organize and advocate for changes in the workplace, and the lessons they’ve learned from workers who have put their rights to the test about the importance of having strong worker protections on the job. Local teachers, who had organized a strike the previous summer, told Senator Murray that without the collective strength of their local teachers union, they would not have been able to successfully join together and strike for better wages.  

“We’ve had strong unions that have done everything from giving us a five day work week and weekends to today fighting to make sure people have health care benefits, making sure people get access to sick leave, so many things that are important for our families,” Senator Murray said in Vancouver Wednesday. “Because of the erosion of that, I felt it was really important that we start fighting back proactively, to make sure people can organize and fight for themselves and their families and their coworkers.”

For more information about the PRO Act, visit HERE.