Press Releases

SEATTLE, WA – On Friday, May 6, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra traveled to Washington State, where he joined Representative Adam Smith (WA-09), Senator Patty Murray (WA), Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Representative Kim Schrier (WA-08) for a tour of Crisis Connections, which will be a key partner in the transition to the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Following the tour, a roundtable discussion was held to discuss HHS’ work to support adults and teens in crisis.

Secretary Becerra, Rep. Smith, and Rep. Schrier later toured Renton High School’s school-based health clinic, operated by HealthPoint, to promote the urgent need for all teens and eligible youth to get their annual vaccinations, including those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, to keep schools open, healthy, and safe.

Rep. Adam Smith issued the following statement following Secretary Becerra’s visit.

“We are currently experiencing a national mental health crisis that has been fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday’s event was a great opportunity to hear directly from members of our community about the mental health and wellness challenges they’re facing right now and the solutions we can deploy to address these challenges. I appreciated the chance to learn more about the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which will be crucial to diverting 911 calls related to mental and behavioral health crises. 1 in every 10 calls for police response involves a person suffering from a mental illness, and in most places around the U.S., operators have no choice but to dispatch police officers to every scene, regardless of whether they are equipped or trained to handle these situations. That's why I authored the 911 Diversion to Unarmed Personnel Act, which would provide funding for unarmed crisis response teams that divert nonviolent 911 calls to specialized service providers who are better equipped to handle these calls. Members of our community will be able to call 988 if they are witnessing or experiencing a mental health crisis and 988 will work in conjunction with 911 to ensure that trained professionals – such as social workers, paramedics, and peer support counselors – respond to the call. In order to properly address our nation’s mental health crisis, we must deploy resources across the country to ensure that adults and young people have the tools they need to pursue safe, happy, and healthy lives and 988 will be critical to this mission.

“I also participated in a tour of Renton High School’s school health clinic and had the chance to discuss with Secretary Becerra and Representative Schrier the urgent need for all teens and eligible youth to get their annual vaccinations, including those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are essential to keeping schools safely open – and school-based health clinics are crucial to making sure that kids have access to vaccines, regardless of their circumstances. In Congress, I am a strong advocate for funding community health centers and school-based health centers, which are the backbone of health care for hundreds of thousands of people in the 9th District. Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, Health Point recently received $200,000 from HHS to expand upon the vital work they're doing. During the FY 2022 appropriations process, I also successfully secured $350,000 for the new Family First Community Center Health Clinic in Renton, operated by Health Point, which will bring quality health and wellness programs to the community and will eliminate many of the transportation and financial barriers to accessing health care currently experienced by low-income families in the Cascade and Benson Hill neighborhood.

“I’m grateful to Secretary Becerra for prioritizing Washington state in the National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health and I applaud the Biden-Harris administration for taking action to tackle our nation’s mental health crisis. I also extend my gratitude to health care professionals in Washington’s Ninth District and across the country for their tireless work to lead our communities through this crisis and advance effective solutions to address mental health and wellness challenges. I look forward to my continued work with the administration and the incredible partners on the ground in my community to help individuals and families to live safer, healthier, and happier lives.”

View social content about the the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.
Read an op-ed I wrote for the Seattle Times about the need to reform police response and the success that 911 diversion programs could bring to communities across the country here.
View social content about the mental health roundtable here.
View social content about the importance of school-based health clinics here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after he voted for, and the House passed, H. Res. 915, Recognizing Congressional Workers' Right to Organize.
 
“As the son of a union worker, I firmly believe in the power of unions because I know how important they are in the lives of American workers and families. In Congress, I have fought for the right to collectively bargain for workers in Washington’s Ninth District and across the country, and today, the House took an important step to uphold that right in these very halls.
 
“Congressional staffers are invaluable to the work that we do in Congress and should not be denied the right to unionize. We must emulate the promises that we make to workers across the country in our own offices. I am proud of the House vote today to uplift Congressional workers and strengthen their right to unionize and I will continue to work to help safeguard this crucial right for every worker across the country.”
 
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SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement on the passing of Norman Mineta, former Democratic Congressman and the first Asian American Cabinet member in history.
 
“Yesterday, we lost Norman Mineta, a dedicated public servant, and a trailblazer for Asian Americans. Arising from the dark chapter of Japanese American internment, Mineta went on to serve the United States in countless ways. After serving in the U.S. Army, Mineta began his tenure in California State politics, eventually earning a seat in Congress, where he represented his district for 20 years. While in Congress, Mineta co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Mineta later became the first Asian American to hold a Cabinet position when he was appointed as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Afterwards, he became the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, during which he led our nation with courage and decisiveness in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. A defining point of his career, Mineta pioneered efforts to establish the Transportation Security Administration, making our nation safer and more secure. Mineta’s career is a story of tireless public service, and our country is surely better off because of his many contributions. As we mourn this tremendous loss, we remember a man of integrity, drive, and compassion. My thoughts are with his family and friends as they grieve his passing.”
 
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SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after a draft opinion from the United States Supreme Court showed that the Court may soon overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping millions of Americans of their rights and endangering millions more.

“In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by the public, the United States Supreme Court has shown intent to overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade more than 50 years ago, which enshrined the constitutional right to an abortion. If this draft opinion becomes the final ruling of the Supreme Court, the Court will strip the rights of millions of Americans to make deeply personal and medical decisions about their own bodies and futures. As a staunch advocate for abortion and reproductive rights, this decision alarms me deeply. Americans must be aware of the threat that this potential ruling poses to all fundamental civil rights, not just access to abortions.

“To codify Roe at the federal level and safeguard abortion rights for everyone across the country, I voted for, and the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, and I will continue to push the Senate to act on this critically important bill so it can be signed into law. In this moment of crisis, we must also call on our Senate colleagues to abolish the filibuster. If there is ever a time to do so, now is that time – our civil liberties are on the line.

“I am proud to represent a state that has safeguarded the right to choose. Washington State is committed to protecting abortion rights for every person, and as Governor Inslee stated yesterday, our state will always be a beacon of choice for people seeking abortions from states where extremists have managed to ban abortion care.

“It’s important to remember this opinion is a draft, not a final ruling. Abortion is still legal in many states across the country today. However, anti-abortion groups will continue to push for a federal abortion ban, which is their ultimate goal. This reality underscores the urgency of the moment –we must pass federal legislation so that no matter your zip-code or income, you have full access to abortion and reproductive care.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement, announcing the departure of his longtime Chief of Staff, Shana Chandler, and other senior staff changes.

“Shana is a dedicated public servant who has worked for the people of Washington’s Ninth for more than 25 years, starting her career as an executive assistant and rising to the role of Chief of Staff. I first met Shana shortly after being elected to Congress, and she has worked alongside me ever since. In 2007, Shana became Chief of Staff and has led our office with integrity, ambition, and relentless commitment to the people of Washington’s Ninth.” said Representative Smith. “The successes of our office are in no small part due to Shana’s tireless work as a leader and mentor to the whole staff – both in the capital and in our district. I am eternally grateful for the contributions she has made to our office, our district, and our country. Although her departure will be deeply felt, we wish her all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to seeing what more she will accomplish for our country.”

In addition to Chandler’s departure, the following staff changes will go into effect on May 6:

  • Sarah Servin, currently Deputy Chief of Staff and District Director, will assume the role of Chief of Staff; and
  • Glenn Carpenter, currently Deputy District Director, will assume the role of District Director.
Representative Smith continued, “I am thrilled that Sarah will be stepping into the role of Chief. Sarah has been a member of our team for nearly six years, and I am confident she will bring to the position her extensive expertise, passion, and dedication. Under her leadership, the staff will continue their work to strengthen our community and advance progressive policies that will benefit Americans here at home and across the country. I extend my gratitude and congratulations to Sarah and the other members of our staff who are taking on new roles and furthering their commitment to delivering real results for the people of the Ninth District.”

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