PJALS meets with Senator Patty Murray’s staff

By Fitz, PJALS Steering Committee member and former YALPista

On January 6th PJALS Executive Director Liz Moore, Organizer Shar Lichty and Steering Committee members Cly Evans and myself met with Patty Murray’s Eastern Washington staffer John Culton to share with him our priorities and hear about the senator’s current plan in light of the impending Trump Administration. We focused our asks around opposing the expansion of torture (specifically by opposing Sessions as the appointee for Attorney General), opposing any increase to the military budget at the expense of the social safety net and also supporting the protection of vulnerable populations against deportation and it’s connections to the privatized prison system.

John informed us that Senator Murray’s current lens for priority setting is one of damage control and that she intends to do all she can to protect the social safety net. She is hoping to increase her role as a voice of her constituents and her office is hoping to gather as many stories as possible of those that could be negatively affected by impending potential policy changes (for instance the defunding of Planned Parenthood or repealing of the Affordable Care Act.)

The senator ultimately sees the voice of the constituents as the best possible weapon against the negative outcomes of this election and she has expressed wanting to be a champion for that. “We will do everything we can to be that voice, to be the safe place, and I think we will see her become a lot less bi partisan.” Culton informed us. I believe we were all at least comforted by this statement and as Shar said “At this point we know that there is no negotiating with white supremacy.” We hope to be a part of the effort to collect stories and voices that reflect our values. John informed us we were the first people since the election to express concern about the expansion of torture. Our collective voice is clearly one that is needed to be heard by our elected officials and I hope all of our members will help us in making that voice heard.