Independence Day, new adjutant general, heat rules for workers, 988 lifeline

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Happy Independence Day

On July 4, 1776, 56 delegates from the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, assuming for then- and future Americans “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them.”

Two hundred and forty-eight years later, more than 333 million Americans (including more than eight million Washingtonians), are part of the march towards a more perfect union, where every person can exercise their inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


A collage of smiling candidates for citizenship at a naturalization event.

Four hundred new citizens from 78 countries took their oath of allegiance and became American citizens on Thursday in Seattle.

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee helped induct 400 people as new citizens of the United States during the Seattle Center’s annual Independence Day Naturalization Ceremony.

“Today is the end of a great journey for each of you. You’ve come from around the world, over a great distance and with great effort, to be where you are today,” said Inslee. “But today is the beginning of a new journey. Because you are now as American as I am, and you now share my task to help make this nation a more perfect union.”

Washington welcomes new adjutant general, salutes its former

Two generals shake hands onstage at a military event.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty (left) congratulates Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh (right) during the change-of-command ceremony for the role of Washington’s adjutant general at Camp Murray on Saturday, June 29.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, former adjutant general for Washington state, retired on Saturday. Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, recently appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee, assumed his command. Washington’s adjutant general leads the Washington Military Department, which includes the state’s Emergency Management Division and Washington Youth Challenge Academy, and commands the Washington Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

Daugherty’s 44-year career started as a young ROTC Pathfinder, where he helped rescue a climber on Mount St. Helens. In the Army, he flew a Cobra helicopter. He contributed to the Army’s night vision and desert fighting doctrine. Over the course of 23 military assignments, he rose to the rank of Washington’s adjutant general, serving 12 years. As TAG, he directed National Guard responses to floods, wildfires, derailments, riots, a pandemic, and disasters of every sort.

“As far as I know, I am the oldest and longest-serving soldier in the Army. That in itself is a very good reason to move on and clear up space for younger folks,” said Daugherty during the change of command ceremony. “I am so very, very proud of this team and every single member of it. Thank you for what you do, and thank you for what you are. I look forward to watching you continue your service for this state and this nation under the leadership of Gen. Welsh. TAG 36 is done; long live TAG 37.”

Over his own 35 years and 15 military assignments, the new adjutant general Welsh has been decorated with the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, and among other outstanding distinctions.

WA workers benefit from new heat safety standards; Biden Administration proposes new federal protections

Nearly 1,000 American workers died from heat exposure on the job over the last 30 years. Heat is dangerous, and its dangers are compounded by exertion. Some states, and now the Biden Administration, are taking action to spare workers' lives.

As a summer heat wave approaches, Washington is one of just five states with established workplace heat safety standards. Washington’s rules require employers to give frequent breaks and access to shade and water to outdoor workers once temperatures reach 80 degrees. As temperatures rise to 90 or 100 degrees, workers are entitled to additional protections. Employers can learn more at

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden proposed a new federal rule that would protect 36 million American workers from dangerous heat exposure on the job.

Some states are going the other way. Texas and Florida each recently passed laws to disallow protections for workers from extreme heat. Texas’ law is explicitly targets construction workers, the workers most likely to die from heat exposure.

Temperatures soar, heat resources available

Weekend temperatures in some parts of the state will reach triple-digits. The state Department of Health urges caution, hydration, frequent breaks, and awareness of symptoms of heat illness. During periods of extreme heat, free public cooling centers may open in your area. Dial 2-1-1 or check this online resource to find cooling centers near you. Language assistance is available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded a record number of heat-related deaths in 2023, noting 2024 could be even deadlier. With help from the Climate Commitment Act, Washington is taking steps to help communities deal with extreme temperatures by increasing tree canopy in low-income neighborhoods, and helping thousands more families install heat pumps that efficiently heat and cool homes.

Wildfires are also threatening some Washington communities this weekend. In Wenatchee, local emergency management temporarily evacuated some residential neighborhoods. At least one local fire was sparked by fireworks. Be fire-safe, and opt into local emergency alerts through the Washington Military Department website.

Someone to call, someone to respond, and a place to go: Two years since launch, 988’s promises are coming true in Washington

A checklist of milestones in Washington's 988 suicide and crisis lifeline implementation.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the launch of Washington’s 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. At launch, the promise for the future of Washington’s 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was threefold: someone to call, someone to respond, and a place to go. Two years later, efforts are well underway to build out the system by marshaling response and care resources.

Personalized lifelines offer culturally-competent counseling for veterans, LGBTQ+ youth, and Native help-seekers. Twelve new or expanded crisis response teams are operating statewide. And the state Department of Health is in the process of policymaking for new walk-in stabilization centers and other 'places to go' for people in crisis.

As many as 8,600 people call 988 each month, and another 2,100 people text the lifeline. It's helping people. And as more response and care resources come online, it will help a great many more.

Read the full story on Gov. Jay Inslee's Medium

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Commerce announces $7.3 million grant to sustain behavioral health facilities

Five community-based behavioral health facilities across King, Kitsap, and Yakima counties will benefit from a new $7.3 million grant program announced this week by the state Department of Commerce. The awards were urgently needed to prevent potential closures at five facilities, and to preserve existing care capacity in response to a statewide shortage.

The Climate Commitment Act is charging buses, helping salmon, and expanding mobility in Kitsap County.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee toured three local CCA-sponsored projects in Kitsap County.

Kitsap Transit recently built a new transit center in Silverdale, halving commute times for many of its riders. They installed new inductive chargers for their growing fleet of electric buses with CCA funds. The Bainbridge Land Trust fixed up a stretch of Springbrook Creek, clearing fish passage barriers and restoring an important habitat for threatened steelhead. It’s one of hundreds of culvert projects receiving CCA funding. And Inslee learned how the ZEV Co-op came up with a car-sharing model to help people get around Bainbridge Island affordably and with no emissions. The CCA is helping thousands more Washingtonians afford EVs, and helping the state install 5,000 chargers.


A group of people stands on a pedestrian bridge over a shallow creek in a forest.

Gov. Jay Inslee and members of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust stand atop a new pedestrian bridge over a recently-cleared streambed that allows juvenile salmon to reproduce and rear.