Washington State House Democrats


Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self is recognized for her advocacy on behalf of Washington’s youngest children

The Early Learning Action Alliance (ELAA) is recognizing Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self with the Early Learning Emerging Leader Award for her outstanding leadership in early learning.

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen for this award,” said the Mukilteo democrat, who serves on the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee, upon receiving the news. “Investing in our youngest children now gets us closer to ensuring the next generation of Washingtonians will have the stepping stones to success. I am committed to continue working to increase early education opportunities for all the children in our state.”

In a letter to Rep. Ortiz-Self, Jennifer Jennings-Shaffer, Early Learning Policy Director for the Children’s Alliance, says of the lawmaker that her “commitment to advancing policies and funding early learning over the past two years has been crucial for Washington’s children and families.”

The Early Learning Action Alliance is a broad coalition of nonprofits, businesses, and professional associations that are dedicated to making sure that every child in Washington arrives at kindergarten prepared to succeed.

ELAA presents awards to selected legislators every two years to highlight the importance of legislative leadership. With the Early Learning Emerging Leader Award, Rep. Ortiz-Self is recognized as a rising advocate for expanding early learning opportunities for children.

Much of a child’s future is determined by the opportunities and support provided during their first years of life. High-quality early learning is one of the best investments we can make in the future of our state. Research shows that for every $1 invested in early learning, we get $4-$7 back.

The legislature passed the Early Start Act in 2015 to give parents reliable information about the quality of early learning programs; bring high-quality early learning to more childcare centers and preschools around our state; and increase childcare stability and consistency for low-income working families.

Additionally, the 2015-2017 budget invests more than $159 million in early learning to improve outcomes for kids – increasing the quality of care and the number of children who have the opportunity to take part in quality early learning. The 2016 supplemental budget increases wages for some of the lowest paid early learning and family child care workers.

According to ELAA’s letter, Rep. Ortiz-Self will be presented with the Early Learning Emerging Leader Award in late summer or early fall.

“I look forward to accepting this award on behalf of all the children and families in the state, many of whom do not have a voice. May our children’s voices never be silenced,” added Ortiz-Self.