Today, the Senate Ways and Means Committee was packed with people who, this session, will decide the future of our state's premiere facility for the developmentally disabled. Under the threat of closure citizens rallied.
I had a one-on-one with W&M Committee Chair, Margarita Prentice, before the hearing. We have been friends for many years. She has a son and I have a grandson with autism.
In December I hosted a meeting in Buckley to bring the community together in an effort to promote Rainier School. Every year some entity tries to go after it for closure or for a juvenile correction center, etc.
Here are my friends from the Federation of State Employees. They were part of a huge group to defend the school which includes Mayor Pat Johnson from Buckley, Friends of Rainier (a parents group), legislators and local chamber members.
"I'm about to lose 1,000 highly skilled jobs," the mayor said. "Four hundred citizens of my community (Rainier residents) are about to lose their home."
Not all citizens who are developmentally disabled should be at Rainier. But, there should be an option... and there is a growing need for care and also respite care for the families of clients who commit to a lifetime to care giving.