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CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2024 AWARD WINNERS

Winners were elected by CCF's Board of Directors; nominations were based on floor and committee votes, prime and co-sponsorship of CCF's priority bills, proviso and budget leadership, session activity including floor speeches and public comments, and more.

Senate Champion of the Year
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Senator Claire Wilson (30 LD)

Senator Claire Wilson, Vice Chair of the Early Learning and K-12 Committee in Washington State, has shown exceptional leadership and dedication to the educational and developmental needs of children and adolescents. Through her legislative efforts, she has sponsored significant bills aimed at enhancing the state's educational system and providing comprehensive support for students.

During the 2023-24 legislative session, Senator Wilson sponsored SB 5908, a bill designed to improve access to and quality of early childhood education programs. This legislation highlights her commitment to establishing a robust foundation for young minds, recognizing the pivotal role early learning plays in long-term success.

Senator Wilson also sponsored SB 6038, which aims to reduce the costs associated with providing child care.  Senator Claire Wilson's sponsorship of SB 6038, which expands the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax exemption for child care services, is expected to have a substantial impact on the accessibility and affordability of child care in Washington State. By extending the tax exemption to include income derived from the care and education of children up to age 12, and children up to age 17 with verified special needs or those under court supervision, the bill reduces the financial burden on child care providers. This financial relief allows providers to allocate more resources toward improving the quality of care and expanding their services. As a result, families will benefit from more affordable child care options, enabling parents to participate more fully in the workforce

In addition to these legislative efforts, Senator Wilson has been a strong advocate for key budget initiatives and co-sponsorships that secure essential funding for educational programs. Her work in the Early Learning and K-12 Committee is characterized by a focus on equity, access, and quality, striving to create an inclusive educational system where all students can thrive.
 

House Champions of the Year
 
Rep. Marcus Riccelli (LD-3)
Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee where he has championed expanding health access, dental care, and free school meals to provide quality care and nutrition to children. Rep. Riccelli stands out as an incredible powerhouse for kid's health in our state and has ensured student wellbeing across all school communities.

Rep. Riccelli prime sponsored the biggest advances in children's access to health care including HB 1466 (concerning currently credentialed dental auxiliaries) and HB 1678 (establishing and authorizing the profession of dental therapy) to increase access to dental care for Washington kids and families while raising dental visits from 60,000 to 150,000 people annually — and championed key budget requests to establish regional apprenticeship programs to provide more unique career opportunities among rural school districts, as well as co-sponsored other vital funding for the 988 system statewide crisis line and strengthening health care oversight and drug affordability through multiple passed bills. Prior years, Rep. Riccelli was also recognized as a 2022 Children's Alliance Champion for Children and 2020 Food Lifeline Legislative Champion Award.

 
Rising Stars of the Year
 
Rep. Emily Alvarado (LD-34)

Rep. Alvarado is truly a star in the legislature - shining bright for children, youth, and families as a powerful leader during hearings and long-time leader emphasizing housing access. During her first term, Rep. Alvarado prime sponsored many important bills including HB 1694 (addressing home care workforce shortages) and HB 1260 (accelerating stability for people with a work-limiting disability or incapacity) and co-sponsored over two dozen priority bills across our issue areas. She was an especially powerful voice in the 2023 session around ensuring Washington's kids and families have their basic needs met, and that funding for special education increased.

Rep. Julio Cortes (LD-38)

As the new Vice Chair of the Human Services, Youth, & Early Learning Committee this year, Rep. Cortes championed this session’s most transformative bills impacting children, youth, and families. He prime sponsored bills like HB 1406 (expansions concerning youth seeking housing assistance and other related services) to increase shelter for youth to 90 days if parents cannot be contacted while promoting family reconciliation and increased funding to youth service providers. Continuing the advocacy for youth, Rep. Cortes co-sponsored multiple bills to eliminate student homelessness (HB 1622), to provide accessory dwelling units (HB 1337), and more that challenge the status quo of homelessness and reimagine a better, more accessible Washington for all children, youth, and families.

 Evergreen Advocates for Kids & Families
 
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Rep. Vandana Slatter (48 LD)
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Rep. Vandana Slatter (48 LD)
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Rep. David Hackney (LD-11)
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Rep. Vandana Slatter (48 LD)

CELEBRATING OUR PAST 2023 CHAMPIONS
We'll hold space to honor CCF's past champions for their profound previous and ongoing commitment to kids and families, including:
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Rep. Lisa Callan (LD-5), Rep. April Berg (LD-44), Rep. Debra Entenman (LD-47), Sen. Yasmine Trudeau (LD-27),
Rep. Jamila Taylor (LD-30), Sen. Emily Randall (LD-26)

Thank you to ALL the champions who made this a victorious session for children, youth, and families across Washington!

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