A message from Marcus: Thanking our veterans; health care and dental access

Color guard with flags at the WWI memorial on capitol campus
Photo courtesy: Gary Lott, Washington Department of Veterans Affairs

Thanking our veterans all year long

Honoring our veterans annually on November 11 is a tradition dating back to the Eisenhower administration. With courage and selflessness, vets have given their time, talents and often sacrificed their health to serve in our armed forces. Thanking veterans and military families is about more than offering up kind words every November 11; it’s about our actions all year long. Here’s how the legislature showed gratitude to our veterans this year:

Ensuring veterans have access to the lowest possible tuition rates in our state

Many veterans choose to pursue higher education after their service ends. I was proud to help keep that opportunity more affordable by supporting legislation granting in-state tuition rates at Washington’s public colleges, universities, and technical schools to veterans, regardless of residency status. House Bill 1688 brings our state into compliance with the federal Choice Act, and enables veterans receiving federal Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services benefits access to in-state tuition rates.

Reducing property taxes for disabled veterans and seniors

Disabled veterans and senior citizens are some of our most vulnerable populations when it comes to housing affordability and rising property taxes. This year, I was proud to vote in favor of expanding the property tax exemption to help ease the strain for these Washingtonians. As of January 2020, the disability qualification changes from a required 100 percent rating to an 80 rating, which includes more veterans in our community. And income thresholds for senior citizens to apply for exemptions will now depend on a county’s median income, with the current $40,000 statewide threshold as the new floor. You can learn more about the changes to the exemption by visiting the Department of Revenue website.

Have you enrolled yet? Here’s how.

Washington healthplanfinder logo


November is open enrollment month for both Affordable Care Act plans and Medicare. With medical debt being the leading cause of bankruptcy, while others struggle to access the care they need, having affordable medical coverage is critical for individuals and families. Here’s what you need to know about enrolling:

  • November 1 – December 15 is open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans. Everything you need to know, including plan comparisons, is at Washington Healthplanfinder.
  • October 15 – December 7 is open enrollment for Medicare. The best resource for navigating Medicare options is the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Greater dental care access for Spokane


We must not discount the role that oral health plays in overall health. As a member of the House Health Care & Wellness committee, I’m committed to ensuring dental care isn’t left out when discussing vital health services. Spokane has a large population that is underserved when it comes to dental care access. That’s why increasing the number of dental chairs in our community is vital.

With a $485,000 investment from the state capital budget that I pushed for, plus local and federal investments, we’ll soon bring these critical oral health services to over 4,000 patients right here in Spokane at the new East Central Dental Clinic, located at the East Central Community Center. Breaking ground last week, the East Central Dental Clinic offers hope to our uninsured and Medicaid populations here in the 3rd District. It was a great honor to help kick off this project, which when complete will serve those who need it most.

It’s an honor to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.

Best regards,