Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Every Child Matters Launch
June 17, 2004

Good afternoon everyone. Itís great to be here to join you in this worthy cause.

Itís great to welcome Every Child Matters to Washington state.

I have always been a strong advocate of childrenís needs in our state. From the start of my career as a state legislator, I have always had very deep convictions on these issues.

I became even more profoundly committed to childrenís issues with the arrival of our daughter Emily and our son Dylan. Mona and I are now expecting our third child in November. We hope to celebrate the birth of the newest Locke right along with election victories on all childrenís issues in our state!

I have run for and held a number of elective offices. I have seen first-hand just how important and determinative voter participation is to progress. As citizens and voters, we often have more power than we realize.

Children, on the other hand, donít have a lot of clout. They canít vote, they canít lobby, they donít represent moneyed interests, theyíre not an organized constituency. They depend completely on us to do the right thing. They depend completely on us to fight for critical needs like health care, education, early learning and abuse prevention.

We all know that learning begins at birth. But thousands of our kids start kindergarten without the basic skills to succeed in school. We must help our children by giving them the early foundation they need.

We know from the survey results released here today that voters favor expanding programs that benefit children and families. Voters solidly favor proposals for after-school programs, health insurance for all children, programs to help prevent child abuse, and federal support for more pre-school education programs and better child care. Washington voters clearly want to do the right thing and help our kids.

Our task is simple. We must elevate the dialogue and turn this support into results. Letís register and mobilize voters. Letís generate pressure for candidates and the media to talk about kids. Letís show all those voters who want to help our children that they can make a difference.

Letís give every child in our state the opportunity to be healthy, safe, and ready to learn in school.

Thank you.

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