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Arrival of paid maternity leave is long overdue in Washington State

Commentary | February 5, 2016 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

The neighborhood parents have bonded, not just over sleep schedules and teething, but also commiserating over how both moms and dads had to return to work too soon. And these are middle class parents who could afford to buy a house in Seattle in the past few years.

We all need and deserve paid family leave

Commentary | January 27, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Washington state's proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance is a completely American solution, like Social Security -- one that will protect workers and families when they need it most.

Want quality early learning? Pay teachers

Commentary | January 13, 2016 | Everett Herald

The Legislature has turned a blind eye to Washington's youngest residents by passing legislation (like the Early Start Act) that talks a lot about high-quality child care, with nary a word about teacher compensation. The consequences of low wages are clear here, as they are in any workforce: low morale, high turnover and not much education. It's not a pathway to high quality early learning.

Fully funding Washington’s education system means legislators must find their backbones

Commentary | January 10, 2016 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

Washington’s legislature launches a 60-day session January 11. As in the past several years, their biggest challenge will be money – how to adequately fund schools without slashing the other services necessary to protect the health and safety of our state’s people.

Work to create future of better wages, benefits

Commentary | December 31, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Is the future something that will happen to us? No, because as citizens in a democracy, we can make choices and put forward ideas that actually shape that future. So in anticipation of 2016, here are some ideas about how we as a people can shape our own future.

Solstice dreams of getting back to where we were

Commentary | December 16, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

What are the dreams of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Prophet’s birthday? They embrace hope, light, and love. These are not the dreams of the self-indulgent. These are the dreams for the betterment of our shared humanity.

Another shot to tie jobs to Boeing tax cut

Commentary | December 2, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

I recently purchased a T-shirt from the Boeing store for my daughter, who is fan of the 737. It says, “If it's not Boeing, I'm not going!” That may be true for her — but Boeing jobs are certainly on their way out of Washington. Our legislators can fix what's gone wrong here.

Eyman has one thing right: lower sales tax

Commentary | November 18, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

A good public budget plans for today's priorities, for future needs, and for the unexpected -- and taxes allow a community to pay for the public goods and services for which it has planned. The latest Eyman Initiative, I-1366 (which just squeaked by with a 51% yes vote) could threaten all of that -- but only if we let it.

Senate bills look to fairly adjust Social Security for seniors

Commentary | November 5, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Two-thirds of all seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income. But there won't be a cost-of-living adjustment in their Social Security checks next year, even though data show their costs are rising. There's a fix ready to go -- will Congress act in time to implement it?

Commentary | October 21, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

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