Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Weekly News Conference—In-State Tuition Bill
May 7, 2003
Good morning. Thank you for joining us today.
Joining me this morning to talk about the education bill we are signing today are:
· Representative Phyllis Kenney
· Jorge Madrazo, Consul of Mexico, Seattle
· Ricardo Sanchez, Director, Latino/Latina Education Achievement Project (LEAP)
I would also like to acknowledge:
· Attorney General Christine Gregoire
· Richard Gomez, Director for Migrant and Bilingual Education, OSPI
· Enrique Cerna, host, KCTS Channel 9
· Washington Association of Churches
· Lutheran Community Services
· Eastside Latinos Leadership
· United Farm Workers of America
· National Farm Worker Ministry
· Council of Presidents
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge some important contributors to this bill who were invited but not able to joint us today:
· State Superintendent Terry Bergeson
· Secretary of State Sam Reed
· Washington Education Association
We’re here today to sign a bill that will open doors for deserving young scholars.
Many children of migrant workers grow up in Washington state, many since shortly after birth, and graduate from high schools here.
Our state constitution guarantees the right to a K-12 education to all students “residing within our borders.”
Until now, higher education was a different story. Children of undocumented migrant workers were not eligible for a quality higher education at in-state tuition rates, because of the status of their parents.
These children have grown up in our state, gone to school here and have achieved high academic goals.
But without in-state tuition rates, the opportunity for college was pushed out of reach for many of these academically qualified students.
But today we are opening opportunities in our state to all deserving students who have resided in our state for years!
The bill I am signing this morning extends in-state tuition rate eligibility to anyone who graduates from a Washington state high school and has lived in the state for at least three years and must take steps toward citizenship.
This is a logical extension of our state’s constitutional provisions. And a sensible step given the investment our state already makes in its K-12 students.
This bill helps give all Washington residents an equal chance at quality higher education. It does not lower standards or confer special privileges. Rather, this bill helps our system better serve Washington students who are committed to their education and have demonstrated their academic abilities.
This bill will help students. It will also help our communities and our state. Every Washington student deserves a first-rate education. Every Washington student who aspires to higher education opportunities and is qualified for them should have those opportunities.
For this reason, I have also vetoed an amendment to the bill that would have excluded children of undocumented migrant workers in the new law.
This proposed amendment would have defeated the whole purpose and intent of the bill.
The American dream belongs to all Washington children.
It must be accessible to all Washington children.
This includes children of undocumented migrant workers, workers who have often been trying for years to obtain legal status and become citizens.
Accordingly, I have vetoed the amendment.
And now I’d like to introduce Representative Kenney . . .
Thank you, representative Kenney. I would now like to introduce Jorge Madrazo, Consul of Mexico, Seattle . . . . .
Thank you, Consul Madrazo. Next we will hear from Ricardo Sanchez, Executive Director of the Latino/Latina Education Achievement Project (LEAP).
Thank you Director Sanchez.
Today, we take another step forward in our quest to have a world-class education system in our state for all of our students. We take a step forward in making sure we offer opportunities to all Washington residents to reach their full potential. Deserving young students will benefit, and our state will benefit.
I will now sign this bill into law.
Again, I appreciate everyone’s hard work in making this step forward possible.