Constituent Questions, Funding Local Projects, and Promoting Living Wage Jobs Through Apprenticeships

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Every day, I hear from constituents just like you. These questions and comments are a vital part of the work I do in Olympia, representing you in the state house. A healthy democracy only thrives with an active and engaged citizenry. This week, I gathered some of your top questions and responded to them in the video below.

Funding Local Construction Projects

Waikiki Springs

The state capital budget is our construction-focused budget. The projects funded by the capital budget are particularly satisfying, because we witness these structures impact our community for decades to come. Championing local projects here in Spokane is one of many reasons I serve on the House Capital Budget Committee. From teen shelters to bolstering infrastructure at our community colleges, it’s a privilege to ensure that Spokane and all of Eastern Washington has funding for our most vital services to grow.

Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve is a great example of a local project I have worked to fund through our capital budget. Thanks to funding from the Legislature, there are now 95 acres of land along the Little Spokane River conserved for public access and habitat protection. These are valuable amenities for Spokane, especially at a time when both physical distancing and getting more active are imperative to the health of our community.

You can learn more about this win for our community, in video below from Inland Northwest Land Conservancy (INLC):

For 2021, a couple of requests I wanted to highlight sponsoring include a new roof for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center as well as funding for Maddie’s Place, a pediatric transitional care facility that specializes in rehabilitating drug dependent newborns and their mothers. The East Central Neighborhood has been ground zero for racial struggles and racial empowerment in our community. We know more than 2,000 families access services at the MLK Jr. Center and we need to ensure they will be able to fully use the space to enhance programming and the resources being offered. At Maddie’s Place, they are creating a space that brings together medical care, social support and a focus on rehabilitating families that will set the next generation up for success and help families stay together.

The COVID-19 assistance hotline is here to help

If you or someone you know is having trouble booking an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine, there’s a number you can call for help. To reach the state COVID-19 assistance hotline, dial 1-800-525-0127 and enter #. You can also call the state’s alternate number at 888-856-5816 (a Spanish option is available) if you can’t reach the hotline with the 1-800 number. The COVID-19 hotline is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Promoting Living Wage Jobs Through Apprenticeships

construction worker

Companies are having a hard time finding qualified workers in the building trades. One way to increase the supply of qualified laborers is through apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships help workers get the training and workforce experience they need while still earning a living. That is why I introduced HB 1308 which looks at ways that state and local government can help grow apprenticeship programs and help workers develop skills that will provide a living for a lifetime. While HB 1308 will not be moving forward this year, I look forward to working with the building industry, trade schools, unions, workers, and local governments on ways to expand apprenticeships, make them more accessible, and provide workers with lifelong skills that will earn a living wage right here in Washington.

It’s an honor to serve our community.

Best Regards,

Representative Marcus Riccelli

3rd Legislative District – Spokane