Patty in the News

Murray helps meet the nation's obligation to all the casualties of war

The armed services have an ally in Washington's U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to help them rethink how they deal with post-traumatic stress disorder within their ranks, and to help veterans after they leave active duty.

Mar 25 2012

AMERICANS who saw heavy combat suffer a toll in health, happiness, marital status and earning power as civilians. So concluded a major study in 1985, followed by others. The devastating traumas of combat experience, and exposure to the hazards and tensions of a war zone, are as old as the Trojan War, and as fresh as the multiple deployments of U.S. troops spread across two conflicts. One thing has changed. Washington Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, has emerged as a tenacious advocate for service personnel and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental health issues. What apparently has not changed is the military's own ambivalence about the condition. Anyone who wants to stay in the service believes it's a career-ender to acknowledge the flashbacks, nightmares and depression that characterize PTSD. At the very least, it could compromise a promotion. As a result those inside the service suffer a compounding sense of isolation that claims their families as well. The failure to address the problem has the faint echo of "don't ask, don't tell" that cost the armed services the skills of thousands of gays and lesbians eager to serve, but who paid a price for honesty.

- The Seattle Times (Editorial)
It was 2009, floods had inundated western Washington and the state’s politicians were flown up to survey the damage. When asked who would scoot down to the open end of the C-17 cargo plane, where they would have to be tethered down for safety, Gov. Christine Gregoire and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray volunteered. As Ms. Cantwell tells it, the men declined. “Everybody thinks that the macho men would do that,” Ms. Cantwell said. “But it was the three of us willing to go back there.” For Ms. Cantwell, who has a photograph of that moment hanging in her lobby, the story speaks to the last eight years, the only time in the country’s history when a state’s governor and two senators have all been women. That time ends in January, as Ms. Gregoire will not seek a third term, and both the Republican and the Democrat vying to succeed her are men. Nationwide, women’s groups point out the glaring gender disparity in public life, noting that there are only 6 female governors and 17 female senators. Across the country, women make up 23.6 percent of state legislatures, according to Off the Sidelines, a project started last year by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York. But in Washington State, women’s serving in public office has been as consistent as the rain.

- The New York Times
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) released a new video on Friday urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to abandon his plans to continue the fight in the House against contraception coverage. Minutes before Sen. Roy Blunt's (R-Mo.) amendment, which would have allowed all employers to refuse to cover contraception for their employees for "moral reasons,"failed in the Senate on March 1, Boehner vowed to take up the fight in the House. "I think it's important for us to win this issue," Boehner told reporters at the time. He said the Obama administration's new contraception rule requiring most employers to cover birth control with no co-pay for their employees violates religious liberty. Legislation has already been introduced in the House that would override the contraception policy. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry's (R-Neb.) Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, the companion bill to the Blunt Amendment, currently has 221 cosponsors.

- The Huffington Post
More will be known about how well the mixing system will work at the $12.2 billion vitrification plant being built at Hanford after more testing is completed, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu at a Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee hearing today. He had been asked by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., what his level of confidence was that technical issues at the plant could be resolved. There also are opportunities to "buy insurance" on how well particles of solid waste will remain mixed by prefiltering the waste, he said. Construction started on the vit plant almost a decade ago and design is almost complete, yet several significant technical issues have been raised about the plant, Murray said. "Inside the black cells there is no room for error," she said. The plant is being built to treat up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste left from the past production of plutonium for the nation's weapons program. Black cells will process high-level radioactive waste, making them too radioactively hot for workers to safely enter for maintenance after processing begins. Concerns have been raised that inadequate mixing of waste could lead to a criticality or buildup of flammable gases. The issues that have been raised, including keeping waste well mixed, have been known for several years, possibly before he became energy secretary, Chu said.

- Tri-City Herald
“The threats to women’s health care are very real, and they are only growing," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor Thursday. "We saw it on a panel on birth control in the House -- that didn’t include any women. We saw it in a young woman being called horrible names for telling the story of a friend in need. We see it in Republican efforts to allow a woman’s employer to dictate her access to birth control, and we are seeing it in state laws all across the country aimed at stripping women of their rights and so much more."

- Huffington Post
Brooke Baldwin talks to Sen. Patty Murray about Army PTSD diagnoses.

- CNN
EVERETT -- How does a state, or a community like Snohomish County, ensure it has enough qualified workers to sustain a growing industry like aerospace?

• You increase the number of engineers being educated locally.

- The Everett Herald
”: Sen. Patty Murray sat down Wednesday afternoon at Randy Heslop's dining room table and told him she was delighted to meet him. The Marysville resident recently wrote an email to the senator to tell his personal stories about being unemployed and about needing unemployment insurance. "Your letter really touched me," Murray said.

- The Everett Herald
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Local veterans told U.S. Sen. Patty Murray on Thursday that they’ve been mistreated, ignored and in some cases totally forgotten by the federal government in seeking medical care and applying for benefits.

- Yakima Herald
SEATTLE -- Three strangers gathered around a dining room table in Seattle Wednesday morning, sharing one thing in common: they're all unemployed.

They were brought together by Sen. Patty Murray, who hopes their stories will push Congress to extend unemployment benefits for people who are still out of work in this tough economy.

- King5.com