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Inslee discusses financial aid, voting

Governor wants to increase funds for students, sees next election as highly important

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about Washington’s defense of net neutrality in the PACCAR building Wednesday.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about Washington’s defense of net neutrality in the PACCAR building Wednesday.



Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about Washington’s defense of net neutrality in the PACCAR building Wednesday.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen news editor

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Gov. Jay Inslee visited Pullman as a part of a tour of broadband access across the state of Washington on Wednesday.

Inslee said it is important for society and the economy for all Washington residents to have access to broadband connections, even those in more rural localities.

He also spoke about net neutrality, which was recently repealed nationally, and why he felt it was so important for Washington to have passed a bill saving the state’s internet protections.

“I worked on this when I was in congress to protect American’s net neutrality,” he said. “We have jumped into the fray and I’m proud of our state. We’ve led the country in so many different ways and this is another way we are leading.”

Inslee said Washington, which was the first and so far only state to implement a bipartisan bill protecting net neutrality, will fight any legal challenge President Donald Trump’s administration may make against the state in the area.

In addition to open internet, another area Inslee spoke about was the rising cost of education facing college students in the state. The governor said the issue of breaking down costs as a barrier to higher education was important on a personal level.

“This is very important because having gone broke trying to go to college, I’m personally familiar with that,” he said. “Twice as a matter of fact.”

Inslee said he wants to ensure all students qualified for financial aid receive enough to complete their degree. He said he wants to make an effort to increase support for this funding now that the state has finished paying off its obligation brought by the McCleary v. State of Washington case that required the state to give millions to schools after the court found Washington had violated their constitutional requirement to provide adequate funding for K-12 education.

“I’m hopeful that now we can have increased commitment to … post-secondary colleges and career connected learning,” he said.

In addition to increasing financial aid funding, Inslee said he also hopes to raise the amount of opportunities available for young adults to train and receive trade certificates.

“We want to start a very active apprenticeship program,” he said. “We’re starting that initiative.”

Another group of students facing increasing costs of education are those working toward graduate degrees. While he hasn’t had extensive discussion about the issues, Inslee said he supports assistance for graduate students through methods such as research assistant positions and opportunities for unions or organizations to speak with lawmakers about possible solutions.

An issue Inslee said he wants to bring to the forefront for students in Washington is that of voter turnout. He said he sees voting as important for younger generations as they will be the one’s living with the consequences of policy decisions for the longest amount of time in the future.

He also said he wants more students voting due to the education most young people now possess.

“We know who the smartest people are in the state of Washington and they’re your [college-aged] generation,” Inslee said. “They’re the best educated generation, the most socially-aware generation and frankly they care about the things I care about.”

Some areas Inslee highlighted as being important to both himself and students were marriage equality, income inequality and social justice issues.

Earlier this year, Inslee signed three bills into law that addressed voter registration for young people, including allowing pre-registration, automatic registration for driver’s license holders and allowing voters to register up to Election Day.

Inslee said voting should be one of the highest priorities for students in the coming years.

“The people with the most stake in the future of Washington state are people who are college and high school students,” he said. “There’s a lot of stake this year to vote. There’s a lot of threats to our democracy, there’s a lot of chaos, there’s a lot of efforts to ignore science, particularly climate science.”

About the Writer
IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Ian Smay is a senior journalism & media production major, with an emphasis in broadcast news, from Dayton, Washington. He is also minoring in criminal justice, and served as the crime & courts beat reporter from Aug. 2017 – May 2018. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Inslee discusses financial aid, voting