Investing in Resiliency for WA

Dear friends and neighbors,

Time flies: it’s the 13th week of the 2023 legislative session. As we approach the final stretch, I want to take a moment to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be back in-person with my colleagues and have had face-to-face conversations with so many of you.

Thank you so much to all who responded to the 11th LD environmental policy survey. You can view the results of the survey here.

While opinions were closely divided, 47% of respondents indicated that the Legislature should prioritize environmental policy more, while 43% felt it should be less of a priority. However, all the environmental policies listed received more support than opposition. We appreciate everyone who took the time to participate in the survey. We would like to invite you to participate in our 11th LD budget survey this week. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and your input is valuable to us. Thank you for your continued engagement!

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Expanding resiliency in Washington

I am excited to share with you some of the funding highlights in the Resilient Washington 2023-2025 operating budget. The House has been hard at work to demonstrate the variety of needs our constituents have, but more importantly the vital investments we must make in our state – investments we must make today. Here are some highlights of our 2023-2025 operating budget; designed to deliver for all Washingtonians, without leaving anyone behind:


Watch my floor speech on the budget’s final passage here

  • Working Connections rates will increase to the 85th percentile. This increase will help support low-income families in accessing quality childcare and early learning opportunities, allowing parents to work and children to receive the critical early education they need.
  • The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) will receive an increase in funding, which will allow more children to have access to this important program. The increase in funding also means that ECEAP slots will be transformed into entitlement, providing a guaranteed placement for eligible families. ECEAP delivers kindergarten readiness outcomes for low-income children—and provides vital childcare to meet the needs of working families. Currently, this program serves about 11,000 children—and we’re working on expanding funding and eligibility. ECEAP is the state’s highest quality early learning program but costs the least in terms of ‘per child’ spending.
  • We are making significant investments in special education, recognizing the critical role it plays in the lives of students across our state. The budget includes funding for additional staff and resources to support students with special needs, ensuring they have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers.
  • We are committed to addressing the behavioral health crisis in our state: we’re increasing rates for behavioral health providers by 15%, which will help to ensure that all Washingtonians have access to the mental health services they need.

Investing in our community

Each legislative session, we have the opportunity to submit to our state capital budget to fund local community projects in our district. Currently, we have an approved budget in the House which means we just have a little more negotiating to do with the Senate. I have been meeting with folks from around the district and learning of our needs, so here are some of the budget projects that I am strongly advocating for that are reflected in the House budget: 

Developing the Sam Chastain Trail Project

In 2001, Renton had this important trail connection project planned, paid for, and ready to go. Unfortunately, sweeping economic and security concerns from the 9/11 attacks to our nation effectively halted the continuation of this project. After years of deliberation and negotiating, we have finally been able to move forward on this beneficial addition to pedestrian infrastructure, which connects the end of the Cedar River Trail to Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, boasting beautiful views of Lake Washington and our bustling Boeing Plant. This project is a huge economic development by connecting the trail to the downtown corridor. 


Fighting displacement and economic disadvantage for immigrant and refugees

Partnering with ABICWA (Abu Bakr Islamic Center of Washington), this funding assists in land acquisition to secure affordable commercial and residential spaces which support the economic empowerment of our vibrant African immigrant and refugee communities in the 11th district. The project’s Tukwila location will build dozens of affordable housing units and spur communal economic growth, saving over 100 businesses from their risk of displacement. 

An energy efficient Starfire Sports Investment

As many know, Starfire Sports hosts outdoor activities that thousands of people in our district relish in and has proven demonstrably useful in providing access to underprivileged youth access to training. This funding would be used to retrofit their 8 outdoor fields with LED lights and solar panels. Not only will this provide higher quality facilities for folks in our district, but also reduce the impact of these lights on the environment (while saving money in the process)!

Revamping the Talbot Hill Reservoir Park Courts

This session we’ve been able to allocate some funding to revitalize the many great facilities we have for sports across the 11th. At the Talbot Hill Reservoir Park Courts, funding will be used to refinish the playing surfaces, improve the drainage system surrounding the courts, and more! These additions will help provide more access to high quality outdoor pickleball and tennis in our district.


Thank you so much for reading! As always, feel free to reach out if you have comments, questions, or ideas. 


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Rep. Steve Bergquist