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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  November 10, 2021

Happy Veterans Day

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With Veterans Day being tomorrow, I wanted to begin this Report from Olympia by honoring those to whom we owe our freedom: the brave men and women who have served our country in the armed forces.

Between the chaotic finish to the Afghanistan war – America’s longest war – and the start of vaccine mandates, which threaten the service records and benefits of active-duty service members, it’s fair to wonder if our military is getting the consideration it deserves. The same goes for our veterans,  whose needs are very real. I will be doing everything in my power to help our local veterans access the benefits they have earned, including their G.I. Bill benefits at Washington’s state-run colleges and universities, physical and emotional care, and housing support.


Veterans Day is an opportunity for all of us to voice our appreciation for the dedication, service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.

There are a variety of things you and your family can do locally on Veterans Day in our area. One important thing you can do is talk to the young people in your life about the veterans you know – share their stories, take your children or grandchildren with you as you volunteer with veteran organizations, and set some time aside to visit a veterans memorial or cemetery to make sure the next generation understands the sacrifices made by our heroes.

There are also several events tomorrow that honor Spokane-area veterans. Renovations are nearly complete at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Riverfront Park, thanks to an organized group of veterans and generous donations from community members, local businesses and organizations. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for noon on Veterans Day, and the public is welcomed to come join in this great event. You can find out more details by clicking here.

If there is anything I can do for you, or if you have questions about anything in this e-newsletter, please give me a call, send me an e-mail or stop by our district office.

Thank you, as always, for the honor of serving as your state senator!

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Sen. Padden on the Lars Larson Show:

Washingtonians should get the chance to repeal Long-Term Care

On Air

LISTEN NOW: Click on the image above to hear Sen. Mike Padden talk to regional radio host Lars Larson about his bill that would allow voters to repeal the long-term care payroll tax.

In 2019, the Democratic majorities in the Legislature approved House Bill 1087, which created a mandatory program, billed as the Washington Cares Program, funded by a 0.58% payroll tax, also known as the Long-Term Care (LTC) Tax.. More accurately, this program is a bad deal for workers in Washington and other states. I voted NO.

Under this program, after paying into the system for 10 years, an enrollee is eligible for a lifetime maximum benefit of just $36,500, when care in a nursing home can reach $10,000 to $15,000 per month. And even that meager amount can only be used if an enrollee stays in Washington. While the benefits are relatively small, the costs are high. The fund is estimated to take in $1 billion per year from workers’ paychecks.

That’s not long-term care, that is a long-term con!

The reasons to oppose this program are many:

  • The tax to pay for this program will be too expensive for many individuals and families. Many live paycheck to paycheck. If you are losing $60 or $80 a month because of this new tax, that is a big hit when your gas and food costs are going up, or your garbage, water or heating bill is going up.
  • This long-term care plan is not portable, so if you move out of Washington, you receive none of the benefit even if you’ve paid the tax for decades. That is unfair!
  • There is no opt-out provision for Washington’s home-of-record military members who are currently serving elsewhere but come back to Washington after leaving the service. Our military members deserve to be treated better.
  • This program taxes those living in border states, like Idaho, who work in Washington but does not give them access to the benefit. How is that fair?
  • If someone paying this long-term care tax is within 10 years of retirement, they will have the money taken out and they will receive no benefit.

October 31 was the last day to have your private long-term care insurance plan in order to opt out of this expensive new program. The problem: private insurance companies stopped selling the plans long ago to avoid being used solely as an escape hatch from the scam.

Despite the difficulty in finding a private plan, nearly 300,000 individuals filed for an exemption by the deadline. The fact that so many people want to be exempt from this new program proves how unpopular and doomed to failure it is. Washingtonians should have an opportunity to repeal this scheme. Fortunately, I have a bill that gives the people a chance to vote Yes or NO, SB 5234.  I will be working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect working families from this rolling disaster.

SRC Podcast

Click here to listen to my recent discussion on the Long-Term Care act with the Elephant in the Dome podcast.


Olympic Conference: What are the stakes?

Conservative conference in Gig Harbor asks if Washington is at turning point


From left, state Rep. Andrew Barkis of the 2nd Legislative District, Tacoma Safe co-founders Kristen Wynne and Angela Connelly, and Senator Mike Padden, who were all on a panel on Law Enforcement legislation, homelessness and the Tacoma Safe program.

I recently had the honor of addressing an inspiring group of conservative activists and policy leaders at the Olympic Conference, a 3-day forum held in Gig Harbor on October 22-24. The event for conservative, liberty-oriented, and other like-minded groups and individuals has been developed in response to the growing awareness among many people of the value for preserving the rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution both locally and nationally.

This year’s event featured Turning Point USA founder and CEO Charlie Kirk and KTTH radio’s Todd Herman. I spoke on the left’s attack on our law-enforcement community and how it is endangering public safety.

In the News:

Law enforcement weighs in on vaccine mandates

By | October 11, 2021

Fox News

… Local law enforcement groups are expressing their frustration with local mandates and the inaction of the Legislature. Public safety professionals from around the state have denounced the recent reforms that are viewed as tying the hands of police, putting the public at greater risk.

“The King County Police Officers Guild is saddened by the loss of the brave men and women whose employment will be terminated for deciding not to take a vaccine,” said Bob Lurry, the Guild’s vice president. “We are losing experienced law enforcement officers that are very difficult to replace. This heavy handed and ill-timed mandate will accelerate the staffing crisis we are already seeing in policing around the state and will make us all less safe.”

Sen. Mike Padden (Republican, Spokane Valley and ranking member on the Senate Law and Justice Committee) agreed, saying the Inslee Administration has taken one of the most extreme positions in the nation on vaccine mandates by not even allowing for testing as an alternative.

“Rather than listening to the concerns of law enforcement organizations, Governor Inslee is actually doubling down on his top-down approach,” said Padden. “Firing dedicated public safety personnel, who are already-stressed, not only impacts them but also their families who are dependent on them for food and shelter.”

Click here to read more.

In the News:

Lighting the Way: Shauna Edwards starts a school for teen parents

By Jim Allen, Spokesman-Review | October 28, 2021

Shauna Edwards

The hallways of Lumen High School are bright and full of hope, a reflection of the woman in charge.

As a student passes by, Shauna Edwards quietly calls her name and asks “how did it go?” She knows exactly what “it” means. So does the student, who shrugs, uncertainty etched on her face.

Edwards responds with a touch on the shoulder and a promise.

“My door is always open,” says Edwards, the founder and executive director of Lumen, the first charter school in Eastern Washington to serve teen parents.

Derived from Latin, the word “Lumen” has two meanings: “light” and “opening.”

The school, located above Riverside Avenue across from the STA Plaza, offers both to a group of underserved students who often have lived in darkness.

Click here to read more.

Community Profile:

Greater Veterans Spokane--building a safe place for veterans across the nation!

By Tonia Michele, KHQ-Q6 News


Nick Richardson, founder and CEO of Greater Veterans Spokane, is a Spokane native who went away to serve his country in 1999 and joined the Army. When he came back, he saw the need for more veteran support.

He created his non-profit organization to provide services and a safe community for veterans and will soon have a recreational center called the E.V.A.C. Center which stands for "Every Veterans Assistance Center."

Click here to learn more.

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!

Phone: (360) 786-7606

Street address: 106 Irv Newhouse Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA 98504

Postal address: PO Box 40404, Olympia, WA 98504

Email address:

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden's Olympia office, which will be open starting Jan. 6, at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton who is the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.