Fall is always an exciting time of year, with children and their back-to-school energy signaling new beginnings, while summer harvests are wrapping up and it is time to enjoy the bounty.
As Autumn sets in, I have been busy in the community paving the way for new efforts ahead while taking time to celebrate what we have already achieved.
I spoke about health policy at the statewide State of Reform conference hosted in Spokane last week, and I visited the home of the future WSU Medical School, which I helped pave the way for with the legislation I sponsored and passed last session. I also got to visit some wonderful non-profits in our community that are getting funding from the state capital budget.
Upward Mobility – An Elevator and Other Capital Investments
Rep. Riccelli speaks at a community gathering at the Corbin Senior Activity Center celebrating an elevator funded in the capital budget.
Our capital budget was good to Spokane, providing infrastructure and family-wage jobs in our community. We’re investing in the NEWTECH Skill Center, the Women & Children’s Free Restaurant, the Children’s Theater, the MLK Jr. Family Outreach Center, and more. I had the chance to visit a number of these places last week.
These projects are just a drop in the bucket when you look at what we’re spending in the state budgets. But they make a real difference in the lives of thousands in our community.
I was particularly proud to have been able to help secure $300,000 for an elevator at the Corbin Senior Activity Center, along with my seatmates Sen. Billig and Rep. Ormsby. Investing in the brick and mortar of our community, by prioritizing the programs and services offered by people like the staff at Corbin, is why government exists. When I learned that Corbin didn’t have an elevator, I knew this was the right thing to do. This space is a good investment for our tax dollars.
We celebrated this achievement at a community gathering last week in honor of Grandparents’ Day.
Fresh, Healthy Food for Kids
Representative Riccelli pays a lunchtime visit to students at Stevens Elementary.
Another important infrastructure investment I’ve worked hard on is the Apple a Day kitchen equipment grant to promote fresh, healthy, local food in schools. Many schools would love to prepare healthier meals for kids, but they lack the equipment to do it. I was able to secure funding for kitchen equipment grants in this year’s capital budget. Last week was exciting for me as the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction put out the Request for Proposals.
Last week, I had an opportunity to visit Stevens Elementary, where scratch-cooking is in full swing, and the kids love it! Wholesome meals should be available to ALL of our kids. I am hoping a number of schools in districts from our area will apply for this opportunity to help transform their kitchens and the lunches they serve.
On Monday, I was recognized for my efforts to promote fresh, healthy food for kids by the Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network. I was honored to receive the 2015 Advocacy Award, and the souvenir apron below, at their annual Harvest Celebration. It has been a privilege to help move this issue forward to support local growers and promote children’s health in Washington state.
We have accomplished a lot in the past year, and we have a lot to be proud of. I look forward to building on these efforts in the years to come. It is an honor to serve you.
Representative Marcus Riccelli
3rd Legislative District – Spokane