Issue Position: Protecting and Helping Children and Families
A former tough-on-crime attorney general, Gov. Chris Gregoire knows what it takes to protect children and families.
As a mother, Gov. Gregoire understands the importance of keeping our children, families and communities safe. Because of her partnership with law enforcement, Washington's crime rate is at a 14-year low.
No one has been tougher on sex offenders than Gov. Gregoire. She increased jail sentences for sex offenders, required electronic monitoring for the worst offenders and expanded the state's DNA registry for sex crimes.
Gov. Gregoire put more police on the streets and built a new prison to keep criminals where they belong.
To protect our children, Gov. Gregoire signed the toughest Toxic Toys law in the nation, outlawing toys with dangerous levels of chemicals.
Before Gov. Gregoire was elected, her Republican opponent wanted to slash the healthcare of 46,000 kids.
As a mother, Gov. Gregoire thinks healthcare is a right, not a perk, and she is taking on the challenge of keeping our children and families healthy.
Now healthcare has been expanded to 84,000 more kids. Gov. Gregoire's goal - one that we're on track to meet - is to cover all kids by 2010. Thousands of adults, many in working families, also have access to healthcare because of Gov. Gregoire.
More than 82,000 people have saved roughly $4 million with a new discount prescription drug card. Monthly assistance is also provided to 49,000 seniors to pay for prescription drugs.
Before Gov. Gregoire was elected, voter-approved investments to reduce class size and increase teacher pay were ignored.
After being elected, Gov. Gregoire respected the will of the voters and put those investments to work in our classrooms. Her pledge is to ensure that all of our children can get the education they need to be successful.
Gov. Gregoire made early childhood education a focus for the first time in our state's history, so that our children will enter grade school ready to learn. She expanded pre-kindergarten programs to include 2,250 more low-income children and provided the lowest-income children the opportunity to attend all-day kindergarten.
Knowing that our children need to be able to compete in the global economy, Gov. Gregoire made record investments in our K-12 education system. She changed math and science standards so students have to learn basic concepts and calculations, and she increased intensive learning options for students. These investments are paying off and more than 90 percent of students passed the WASL this year.
Gov. Gregoire also improved our state's higher education system. She created spots for thousands of new students in Washington's college-level math, science and engineering programs. Four-year branch campuses have been established in Tacoma, Vancouver and the Tri-Cities. And apprenticeships have doubled under her leadership.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and her husband, First Mike, are tireless advocates for veterans in Washington state. First Mike served a combat tour of duty in Vietnam and remains heavily involved in veterans' issues.
Gov. Gregoire has signed 47 pieces of legislation to benefit veterans, more than any other governor in our state's history.
Military spouses and their children can now receive tuition waivers to attend a state college or university and work toward a higher education degree.
She created the Veterans Innovations Program, which has helped nearly 300 veterans transition smoothly into civilian life. The program provides education, training and employment assistance. Veterans also have access to emergency and crisis services. Washington is one of the first states to endorse "Helmets to Hardhats," which connects returning military veterans to apprenticeship programs.
To honor our fallen heroes, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed legislation to create a State Veterans' Cemetery in Eastern Washington.