Patty in the News

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray signaled support Tuesday for the latest push to revive the Columbia River Crossing, saying the effort to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge should remain a priority. The Washington Democrat has long been a supporter of the $3.4 billion CRC, which began shutting down July 1 after receiving no money from the Washington Legislature. But last week, a group of business leaders and other supporters called for a new approach that would essentially bypass Washington lawmakers and give Oregon the lead on a phased project. Those supporters include Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell. The Washington and Oregon governors have said they'll at least look at the idea. After years of work and more than $170 million spent in planning, Murray said she welcomes the push that aims to salvage at least some of the CRC. "The investment that we've made is extremely critical," Murray said. "It should not go to waste, and we ought to look at every possibility to try and make sure this bridge gets replaced." The plan floated last week would keep the bridge component of the CRC the same, with light rail. It would rebuild freeway interchanges on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, plus the state Highway 14 interchange that connects directly to the bridge in Washington. But any additional freeway work in Washington would wait until lawmakers in Olympia decided to put up money of their own.

- The Columbian
With paintings on every wall, driftwood sculptures on tables, plush area rugs underfoot and natural night casting patterns on his bedspread, Marcus Smith’s downtown Longview apartment feels like an inviting, urban loft. It’s not the apartment you’d expect for a formerly homeless veteran. “This is like a miracle here for me,” Smith, 66, told U.S. Sen. Patty Murray as she toured the Stratford Arms building Tuesday morning. “I’ve never had it this good in my life. It’s like a sanctuary. I don’t have to worry.” Murray (D-Wash.), a longtime advocate for veterans, was instrumental in landing $490,000 in federal money toward the first phase of renovating the 1925-era brick building at 1312 Hemlock St. into 20 apartments for homeless veterans.

- The Daily News
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray wants to put a face on the sequester. In Congress and around the country, the Washington Democrat said, skeptics wonder whether the billions of dollars in cuts the federal government put in place in March, following debt-ceiling negotiations last year, are having a noticeable effect on the nation. “I’m hearing people say it isn’t real, that it hasn’t had an impact,” she said. In an effort to prove them wrong, Murray introduced Sara Simrell and Jennifer Green at a news conference Friday morning at Kvichak Marine Industries in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Green, 26, works for Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where a furlough is cutting her $35,000 annual salary by 32 percent. She is one of 6,700 civilian defense workers at the base and thousands more across the state who have faced furloughs. Simrell, 36, was laid off from her $75,000-a-year job at Paladin Data, a software firm in Poulsbo, because of reduced and postponed government contracts.

- Seattle Times
Hanford High School may be nothing more than a gray concrete ruin standing among the sage on the Hanford nuclear reservation. But an air of grandeur remains about the two-story building, graced with tall, multi-paned windows and a front porch where students would gather for an annual photo. It's an indication of how important the school was to the community, Colleen French of the Department of Energy told Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Thursday. Murray visited some of the few buildings that still stand from the days before the 586-square-mile nuclear reservation was created to produce plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program. She saw the high school, the White Bluffs bank and the Bruggemann warehouse, all of which could be included in a Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

- Tri-City Herald
": Sgt. 1st Class Steve Wance won’t miss a beat when he leaves the Army this month after 20 years of service. The Lacey father of three is finishing a program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that promises him a job at more than $27 an hour as an apprentice in a local union. “I’m going to be at the local,” getting paid to advance in a new career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, he said. He’s taking advantage of one of several programs at Lewis-McChord meant to ease transitions to civilian life for troops leaving the Armed Forces in a time of military downsizing. About 8,200 service members expect to separate from the military at Lewis-McChord this year, and many likely will stay in the area. The base is ahead of the curve in nurturing transition programs, senior officers say. More than 90 percent of service members participate in some sort of career or education training before they separate from the military.

- The News Tribune
Finding a job can be a major hurdle for transitioning veterans. Without civilian certifications, such as a commercial driver's license or a nursing certificate, it can be nearly impossible for veterans to find jobs in a field in which they are already versed. "Military training doesn't transfer to the civilian sector," said Ben Wiselogle, veterans program coordinator at the University of Washington Bothell. "These women and men have been trained by the federal government, on the federal dollar, then they are required to get these certifications again to gain concepts and skills they've already practiced." A medic who has triage experience on the battlefield would need to get recertified to practice as a civilian, for example.

- Everett Herald
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was recognized Tuesday in the Alder Hall Commons Auditorium for championing legislation that increases financial literacy efforts for the general public and opens career pathways for students, and her support for programs such as Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). Murray became the 19th recipient of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships’ (NCCEP) Champions for Student Success Award. NCCEP is a nonpartisan nonprofit that is based in Washington, D.C., that strives to increase access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students. The organization gives the Champions for Student Success Award to outstanding congressional leaders who promote student success by advocating for public policies that work toward improved public education for all students. Growing up in Bothell, Murray was one of seven kids in a happy family. However, when she turned 15, her father was diagnosed with multiple-sclerosis and lost his job.

- The Daily
”: John F. Kennedy once said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.” Here in Washington state, Republicans and Democrats recently passed a budget that neither side views as perfect, but which garnered overwhelm-ing support from both parties. Both sides knew that compromise and negotiation were necessary to avoid a shutdown of state government. Now consider the vastly different situation in Washington, D.C. — one we witnessed firsthand July 17 as we met with members of Congress. As our debt continues to mount and our economy remains sluggish, Congress has not passed a budget since 1997. And now some members of the Senate are blocking the two parties from forming a committee to consider a budget.

- The News Tribune
Here's how it went: In Senator Murray's office, instead of being handed a free pen and shown the door, which was what we expected, the person at the desk went to grab Murray herself and bring her out to say hi. At 9 or 10 years old, I was already noticeably taller than her. We shook hands, she thanked us for coming, and then, right off the bat, instead of patronizingly asking me what my favorite subject was or if I played a sport or how I liked DC, she asked me: "Have you thought about going into politics?"

- The Stranger
Imagine driving down a road and seeing a fallen tree up ahead, right in your path. You could turn immediately to avoid even the possibility of a crisis. Or, you could wait until the tree is right in front of you and hope that a last-minute swerve will work. Any sensible person would choose the first option. But if you had to ask today’s Republican Party for permission before turning the wheel, you and your passengers would be in for a dangerous ride. Unfortunately, we’ve been swerving around trees for the past two years when it comes to the federal budget, with serious consequences for families and our economic recovery. We have had a few months of economic growth, and there was optimism that we could go back to an orderly, responsible budget process. But now, if we can’t get a budget deal in the next three weeks, we are almost certain to hurtle toward the next completely avoidable crisis/

- Politico