Campion’s 2020 Legislative Priorities in Washington

Campion’s 2020 Legislative Priorities in Washington

Last week, the Washington State Legislature kicked off the 2020 legislative session in Olympia, and with it, a new opportunity to show our state’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has a safe place to sleep at night.  We made great strides last session, but there’s a lot more work to do.  We can end homelessness in Washington, and the state must be a key player in expanding resources and implementing policies that help people in need of housing.

Governor Jay Inslee started the conversation by releasing a bold proposal in his supplemental budget, calling for a dramatic $300 increase in emergency services to help bring people inside.  We’re grateful to the Governor for providing real leadership on this issue.

Increasing emergency services is an important step, but we also need to expand affordable housing across the state.  Access to affordable housing is the largest driver of homelessness, and that is why we are supporting a $10 million increase to the Housing Trust Fund in the supplemental budget with our partner, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.  This increase will build upon the $175 million allocated last session and will focus on maintaining affordable homes in rural areas.

We will also be closely following the work of our partners focused on creating a statewide system to prevent and end youth homelessness.  We believe that Washington state can be the first state to end youth homelessness and that our Governor and Legislature are laying the groundwork for that to happen in partnership with our friends at A Way Home Washington, The Mockingbird Society, and Schoolhouse Washington.  To do this, we support:

  • Implementing HB 6560 to ensure that state systems such as foster care and juvenile justice have the resources and policies in place to avoid discharging youth from state care into homelessness.
  • Scaling solutions that we know work through increased funding to the Office of Homeless Youth and Homeless Student Stability Program
  • Making reforms to how our state views minors arrested for prostitution. We support the Safe Harbors bill that treats these young people as the victims they are and puts them on a path towards stabilization, not jail.

We are also thankful for the special recognition that Governor Inslee gave to A Way Home Washington’s Anchor Community Initiative in his annual State of the State address, spotlighting the important work that AWHWA and First Lady Inslee are doing across the state to end youth homelessness in four key communities.

For more on Campion’s legislative priorities, please check out our 2020 Legislative Agenda. And if you’re looking to get more involved, please join us and our partners at Youth Advocacy Day on January 31st and Homelessness and Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 3rd.  During each of these advocacy days we’ll be personally connecting with our state’s leaders to let them know that ending homelessness in Washington state is a top priority for communities and families all across our great state.

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King County and Seattle Approve Regional Homelessness Authority

Just before the end of the year, King County and the City of Seattle authorized the creation of a Regional Homelessness Authority, our region’s first-ever unified government agency coordinating all aspects of the homelessness response system.

This new Regional Homelessness Authority will build upon lessons learned from communities across the country and will have an important impact by eliminating fragmentation and redundancies across the system. Under the previous model, people experiencing homelessness in King County faced several confusing and sometimes contradictory bureaucracies that got in the way of actually caring for people. The new Regional Authority will put everything under one roof for the first time ever, making it easier for everyone to get the help they need.

Throughout 2019, Campion worked with a coalition of philanthropies, businesses, nonprofits, and people who have experienced homelessness to build support for the Regional Authority. We are grateful for the steady leadership of King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and numerous county and city councilmembers who made this new Authority possible. We also extend our sincere appreciation to every person who stood up to make their voice heard during the process.

Looking ahead, we are now focused on identifying a roadmap for how our region can make meaningful progress in reducing homelessness and dramatically increasing affordable housing over the next five years. The creation of the of the Regional Homelessness Authority is a huge victory, but it was just one small step – one of many that we will have to take before everyone in our community has a safe and stable place to live.

To learn more about our regional homelessness efforts and to stay engaged, visit WeAreIn.org.

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Tom Campion Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Alaska Wilderness League

This month marks my first full year leading the Campion Advocacy Fund. And it’s been an exciting first trip around the sun. In 2019, we worked with our partners to pass landmark conservation legislation in the United States Congress, to substantially increase Washington state’s funding for affordable housing, and to spark a major overhaul of how the City of Seattle and King County provide services to people experiencing homelessness. We’ve been busy.

Amid these efforts, we were fortunate to have a moment to pause and celebrate Tom Campion, who founded our organization along with his wife Sonya Campion. On November 12, our team and hundreds of Tom’s friends came together to see the Alaska Wilderness League honor Tom with its inaugural Mardy Murie Lifetime Achievement Award.

For the past four decades, Tom has been an unflinching advocate in the fight to protect wild places across Alaska and the American West. On that journey, he has touched countless lives and shared the story of these sacred places with everyone from grassroots volunteers to the President of the United States.

In fact, former President Barack Obama was one of a number of public officials who added their thanks for Tom’s passionate leadership and activism. President Obama sent a letter for the event that read, in part:

“You have demonstrated just how powerful it is when a steady, principled leader brings people together to hold us accountable to our highest ideals. It makes a difference, and not just for folks now, but also for our children and our grandchildren – your work is helping to ensure that we leave them with a safer, cleaner and more sustainable planet.”

These moving words were reinforced by personal tributes to Tom from Gwich’in leader Lorraine Netro, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, and Congressman Derek Kilmer. You can watch a short video reel here. And you can read the full letter from President Obama here.

In his remarks to the audience, Tom reminded us that while it can be valuable to reflect on the road we’ve traveled, the most urgent fight for our wild places is ahead of us. In the coming months, the Trump Administration will try to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, clearcut logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, and a massive mining project in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world’s most important wild salmon fishery.

So as we launch into 2020, we take major inspiration from Tom’s tenacious spirit that is always encouraging us to live (and fight) in the now. But we also benefit from the lesson he offers to us all – that the things we care about usually aren’t won or lost in an instant. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to properly care for the things we love most.

Thank you for inspiring so many, Tom. The journey continues!

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We Are In!

This week, Campion Advocacy Fund proudly joined with our partners to launch We Are In, a new campaign to solve homelessness and build affordable homes in King County.

Along with many leaders in philanthropy, business, and nonprofits, and people who have personal experiences of homelessness, we believe that the Pacific Northwest is stronger when everyone has a place to call home.

More than 11,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Seattle and King County right now, and we can only begin to solve the problem if we come together across all sectors to find smart, regional solutions to the problem. Working alongside partners at county and city governments, We Are In will be a bold champion to build the public will for long-term systems change.

One of the things we hear the most in our work is people asking us, “How can we get involved?” We Are In will be the home for people across King County who want to volunteer and organize to work with elected officials and reach meaningful change.

The campaign and the efforts to revamp King County’s regional approach to homelessness are unique in prioritizing the voices of those who have experienced homelessness themselves. Their role reflects King County’s effort to uniquely and deeply involve people who know first-hand what it’s like to be homeless and what needs to change to get to more effective solutions.

The Campion Advocacy Fund is IN – and so are our partners at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Ballmer Group, Vulcan, the YMCA, and United Way King County – along with many others.

Are you in? Join us at WeAreIn.org, and follow We Are In on Facebook and Twitter.

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Trump Administration’s Rushed and Overreaching Efforts in Alaska Attract Legal and Media Attention

Three recent major news stories out of Alaska underscore how determined the Trump Administration is to advance development projects that will destroy our nation’s public lands and waters.  The Administration’s rushed and overreaching efforts in Alaska are now getting the press attention and legal review that they deserve.

Most notably, the New York Times published a blockbuster story last week exposing the results of the only test well in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drilled more than thirty years ago. A closely kept secret for decades, the journalists found several players with knowledge of the test well results who confirmed it was actually “worthless.” This story will have a long-term impact on the fight to protect the Refuge, calling into question years of promises and statements by Alaska officials who may have known about these results, including Department of Interior officials in the Trump Administration who have been pushing to open the Refuge to drilling. Read more here.

In a U.S. District Court in late March, the court ruled that the Trump Administration broke the law by approving the development of a road through the heart of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation advocates oppose this road because of the dangerous precedent it would set for wildlife refuges across the nation. The court ruled that the Trump Administration violated administrative law when they arbitrarily reversed former Secretary Sally Jewell’s earlier, science-based decision to not allow the road. Read more in the Anchorage Daily News here

On the same day, a second District Court decision overruled the Trump Administration’s efforts to open up oil drilling off the coasts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.  President Trump signed an executive order that tried to lift protections from 128 million acres of federal waters. However, the court found that presidents have the power to put protections in place, but only Congress can revoke the protections. Read more in the Washington Post here.

All three stories provide excellent examples of how President Trump and the Department of the Interior are engaged in a breathless effort to approve massive, landscape altering development projects as quickly as possible.

David Hayes, former Deputy Secretary at Interior under President Obama, authored an op-ed in The Hill about how this dynamic is playing out in the Arctic Refuge. He notes that in its rush to offer oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump Administration is ignoring environmental safeguards and wildlife regulations. Hayes writes:

Most notably, the New York Times published a blockbuster story this week exposing the results of the only test well in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drilled more than thirty years ago. A closely kept secret for decades, the journalists found several players with knowledge of the test well results who confirmed it was actually “worthless.” This story will have a long-term impact on the fight to protect the Refuge, calling into question years of promises and statements by Alaska officials who may have known about these results, including Department of Interior officials in the Trump Administration who have been pushing to open the Refuge to drilling. Read more here.

In a U.S. District Court last Friday, the court ruled that the Trump Administration broke the law by approving the development a road through the heart of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation advocates oppose this road because of the dangerous precedent it would set for wildlife refuges across the nation.  The court ruled that the Trump Administration violated administrative law when they arbitrarily reversed former Secretary Sally Jewell’s earlier, science-based decision to not to allow the road.  Read more in the Anchorage Daily News here

Also last Friday, a second District Court decision overruled the Trump Administration’s efforts to open up oil drilling off the coasts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.  President Trump signed an executive order that tried to lift protections from 128 million acres of federal waters. However, the court found that presidents have the power to put protections in place, but only Congress can revoke the protections. Read more in the Washington Post here.

All three stories provide excellent examples of how President Trump and the Department of the Interior are engaged in a breathless effort to approve massive, landscape altering development projects as quickly as possible.

David Hayes, former Deputy Secretary at Interior under President Obama, authored an op-ed in The Hill about how this dynamic is playing out in the Arctic Refuge. He notes that in its rush to offer oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump Administration is ignoring environmental safeguards and wildlife regulations. Hayes writes:

In a thinly-veiled rush to auction off large blocks of the Arctic Refuge to the oil and gas industry before the next presidential election, however, Interior has made a political decision to issue leases first and address “on-the-ground” oil and gas development issues later. It does not want to miss the opportunity to privatize the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and turn it into a giant oil field while it can. Neither the tax law, nor the National Environmental Policy Act, allow this. 

If the Trump Administration continues to rush forward with its reckless process to offer leases in the Arctic Refuge, court challenges are a certainty. The decisions handed down in the past week give us hope that the judicial branch will continue to put a check on the Trump Administration’s race to develop wild, irreplaceable places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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Campion Reaffirms Commitment to Regional Approach to End Homelessness

Campion Reaffirms Commitment to Regional Approach to End Homelessness

This week, our trustee Sonya Campion joined a coalition of business and nonprofit leaders from across the region to mark the progress that is being made in addressing homelessness in Seattle and King County. In an open letter to the community, Sonya and others acknowledged the significant challenges that remain while also reaffirming their commitment to a unified approach that brings together government, business, philanthropy, and nonprofits to develop a comprehensive system for addressing homelessness. The Mayor of Seattle and the King County Executive are providing bold leadership and we’re proud to support their efforts to make our communities stronger.

Read the letter here and coverage of it on MyNorthwest.com here

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