Photo courtesy of Shooting Star Preschool and Childcare. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with tots in the Renton Highlands after being presented with a song and big welcome card.

Photo courtesy of Shooting Star Preschool and Childcare. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with tots in the Renton Highlands after being presented with a song and big welcome card.

Murray hosts roundtables in Renton

The senator heard from local veterans and parents about needs

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) took a trip through Renton Friday, Oct. 4 to talk about health care for veterans and child care for all.

Murray met with local veterans and veteran medical service providers for a South King County veteran’s health care roundtable, at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1263 in downtown Renton. She heard from several veterans who discussed barriers to women’s health care and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) Community Care program created by the MISSION Act.

Veterans talked about long wait times and payment confusion leaving them threatened by collection agencies. Service providers talked about being unprepared and overwhelmed by the workload at Community Care.

Post 1263 bar manager Destiny Hinton got the call from Murray’s assistant about hosting the roundtable in Renton. She said it was great and they also intended to let the needs of Renton veterans be heard at the event. She said there are local veterans who struggle to advocate for their health and don’t often use VA programs.

Shortly after hearing these concerns, Murray and her staff made their way to Shooting Star Preschool and Child Care in the Renton Highlands.

Kids at the preschool greeted Murray with a song about changing seasons (“Fall is Here” to the tune of “Brother John”) and then representatives from nonprofit Child Care Aware of Washington and child care providers talked about the need for accessible child care, and the need for increased federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding for low-income families.

Shooting Star owner Whitney Hora said she was honored Murray came to the child care center. She said parents at every income level are struggling with child care options. Her center has a waiting list and every month parents are calling to check if their infant or toddler can get in. And as it gets more competitive, rates continue to go up.

“It’s a crisis all around,” Hora said.

The weekend following the events Murray’s staff talked about the importance of both issues on Twitter.

“We make a promise to our men and women in uniform that we will be there for them and their families when they leave the service—and keeping that promise includes ensuring veterans have quality, reliable health care,” an Oct. 4 tweet stated.

“Thank you to the children at @ShootingStarWA for the beautiful performance! It was a great way to kick off a conversation about the importance of strong federal investments to help make high-quality, affordable child care a reality for all,” an Oct. 5 tweet stated.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with representatives at Child Care Aware of Washington.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with representatives at Child Care Aware of Washington.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with veterans and veteran healthcare provider staff at VFW Post 1263 in downtown Renton.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with veterans and veteran healthcare provider staff at VFW Post 1263 in downtown Renton.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with veterans and veteran healthcare provider staff at VFW Post 1263 in downtown Renton.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with veterans and veteran healthcare provider staff at VFW Post 1263 in downtown Renton.

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