What is the Legislator Education and Action Project (LEAP)?
Through this dynamic new collaboration, we aim to facilitate education across the aisle to state legislators and their staff on the importance of early childhood public policy. This new initiative will address the knowledge gap caused by rising rates of legislator turnover by educating legislators and key staff on children’s issues, particularly those related to early learning, child care, and child welfare. The ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as racial and gender equity, will also be addressed. Supporting healthy child development is a bipartisan issue. This is a transformative initiative that will build up policy education and shared knowledge over time, bringing elected leaders together to take action for kids, their families, and our workforce. Kids can’t wait – we need change now.
What are the goals and activities of this project?
Our objective is to create a multi-channel education program focused on early childhood education and child care needs for legislators, staff, and key advocates across the state that leverages the expertise and resources of respected organizations which share a vision where Washington’s children, families, and businesses can thrive. We’ll do this primarily through:
Developing a series of cohesive and high quality educational events, videos, and other media to bring legislators and their staff together with a shared understanding of the most pressing and systemic issues in early childhood impacting children, their families, and the workforce; we will share the leading scientific and economic based research, evidence based strategies for intervention and prevention, and how the legislature can lead from a place of shared knowledge.
Cultivating a pipeline of legislative champions who will create a legislative environment where policies that support children, their families, and the workforce are the priority; regardless of the party in power, the state legislature consistently prioritizes policies and budgets that support kids and families.
Achieving the shared vision of the partnering organizations for a Washington where all children, families, and businesses thrive.
Sustaining a partnership and capacity between child advocates and the business community to reflect complementary priorities regarding education and awareness.
Who are the two organizations and why are they working together?
The Association of Washington Business (the oldest and largest statewide business association) and Children’s Campaign Fund Action (the new advocacy arm of the state’s longest running nonpartisan PAC focused on children’s issues) are pleased to present a powerful new initiative that will transform Washington for generations to come. By providing a comprehensive education program and consistent education, LEAP will fill a gap in knowledge among newly elected legislators and other members interested in understanding more about this critical public policy issue. As leaders in our respective arenas, AWB Institute and CCFA will leverage expertise, resources, and relationships across the business, political, and advocacy sectors.
Don’t the two organizations have different positions on some important issues?
AWB Institute and CCFA are united by our unwavering commitment to prioritizing child care and early learning across Washington state. By strategically bringing people together from both sides of the aisle using the same messaging and education, we can create the conditions needed to affect real and lasting change. While we may have different positions on other important issues – such as progressive revenue – we believe in the power of coming together across our differences in support of children, families, and the economy, and urging the legislature to take informed action. The nature of this collaboration also models to the legislature how different perspectives and priorities can come together to achieve a shared vision that prioritizes kids, their families, and the workforce. This new project will empower legislators to affect meaningful and sustainable change through policy outcomes that prioritize children statewide.
What about recent policy gains on early learning and child care?
Yes! The Fair Start for Kids Act is a groundbreaking policy investment. We want to recognize the leadership of Representative Tana Senn, Senator Claire Wilson, Senator Andy Billig, and all the legislators who helped pass this historic legislation. Through this project, we are eager to build on that momentum, bring newly elected legislators into the fold, and continue to create a sustainable, inclusive, and accessible child care system for families across the state.
Who is funding this project?
We are profoundly grateful for the generous support of Connie Ballmer – a dedicated champion of early learning and child care – and the Ballmer Group for their tremendous investment in this pilot project.
What if I still have other questions?
We’d love to connect with you! Please reach out to the project co-leads to learn more:
Amy K. Anderson, MHPA, JD
Government Affairs Director, Education, Workforce, Health Care & Federal Issues
Association of Washington Business
Children’s Campaign Fund Action