Making progress on vaccines, foster care, and getting the word out to you!

Friends and neighbors,

Last week, Whatcom County reached a critical milestone in our vaccination efforts. Over 30% of Whatcom County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 20% are fully vaccinated! That is huge!

I mention the vaccination rates because we are heading toward a huge turning point and I got to witness what that looks like recently. My son’s baseball league is starting back up and they held their first practice. I was apprehensive, because even with vaccines and masks, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is not completely eliminated. But our kids have sacrificed a lot and they need to see that there is hope on the horizon and things will go back to normal eventually.

What I saw when we arrived is hard to explain. There was excitement from the kids of course. There was joy in their eyes. But their parents were excited too. They were ecstatic to be together, cheering for their kids, watching them run around on the field. It was heartening to see almost every parent following the social distancing and mask guidelines.

When I called on the governor to help us open youth sports back up earlier this year, I knew it could be risky and that we needed a lot of things to come together before it could be successful. Seeing all those families coming together in a way that is safe and protect each other so that their kids could just play…that is how we come together as a community.

Flipping Foster Care Upside Down to Help Families and Kids

I came to the Legislature to help the most vulnerable in our community. And it’s abundantly clear that foster kids are pretty much at the top of that list. It’s long overdue that we take bold action to empower foster kids and families, and we did just that this session with the following bills:

  • HB 1227 addresses family’s needs instead of just taking children from loving parents. Most of the time, when a child is taken from parents because of some form of mistreatment, it is due to neglect. That is most often a result of poverty. Removing a child from a home should happen when it is clear there is possibility of harm, but if we can keep families together and get them services and support they need to ensure their children aren’t going hungry, that’s better than splitting them apart.
  • SB 5151 creating “child-specific licenses” that allow family members to receive special child care licenses that provides funding if they choose to foster a minor family member who needs to be placed in care somewhere. Keeping these children with relatives will improve their chances at success later in life.
  • HB 1219 requiring that children in dependency court are appointed lawyers, a crucial step in ensuring a child’s voice is heard and someone to represent them when the state seeks to remove them from the home and make the child a dependent of the state.

Additionally, the Legislature has passed the Fair Start for Kids Act, which will expand access to child care across the state and stabilize our struggling child care system. We know there is much more to be done, but this year’s legislation could really help turn the page for foster kids and families.


Recapping our virtual town hall

Thank you to everyone who joined our virtual town hall last week. If you weren’t able to make it, you can watch the recording on YouTube. I want to take a moment to talk about what the Legislature is doing to help keep people in their homes.

I’m very concerned about homelessness in Whatcom County, especially because the pandemic has only exacerbated the hardships people are facing right now. That’s why I voted for bills that would let landlords offer tenants the choice of paying a fee instead of a full, costly security deposit upfront and expand the Working Families Tax Credit so families have more money in their pockets to pay for expenses like rent.

The House proposed budget also includes $1.1 billion for rental assistance to pay the back rent accrued during the eviction moratorium. Combined with the $325 million allocated in the step one for community and economic recovery bill the Legislature passed in February, that adds up to nearly $1.4 billion in rental relief I voted for this year. It’s a win-win to help people stay in their homes and landlords recoup losses so they can keep offering housing.

While there’s a lot more work to do, these bills will provide relief to those who need it most so everyone in our community can thrive.

Thanks for reading! Please don’t hesitate to reach out at 360-746-3744 or You can also follow me on Facebook for the latest.

It’s an honor to serve the 42nd Legislative District.

Alicia Rule