Press Releases

SEATTLE, WA – Yesterday U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Rachel Levine, visited International Community Health Services (ICHS) in Washington’s Ninth District for the first stop on the National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health. Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Admiral Levine were joined by Deputy Secretary for Prevention, Safety & Health Lacy Fehrenbach, Washington State Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch, and International Community Health Services (ICHS) President and CEO Teresita Batayola for a tour of ICHS and a roundtable discussion about our nation’s mental health crisis and the steps we can take to address it. Rep. Smith issued the following statement following the visit.
“It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health challenges across the country, resulting in a national mental health crisis, and we must do more to address it. Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in the first stop on the National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health – hearing from patients and providers about our behavioral and mental health care needs and moderating a conversation about the steps we can take to bolster behavioral and mental health care systems in our communities.
“Yesterday’s conversation was a great opportunity to discuss funding deficiencies, specifically related to the capacity of our mental health care system. Expanding access to mental health care is vital, and to accomplish that goal we must ensure that our communities have enough providers to turn to. Funding is needed to invest in workforce development to train and retain mental health care professionals. Additionally, it’s crucial that we invest in community organizations that are already doing great work on the ground to provide personalized and tailored care to community members so that they can expand upon the work they’re doing and reach more people in need. These community organizations are especially vital to our most vulnerable and underserved community members.
“In our discussion, we also touched on the need to make mental health investments earlier on in people’s lives, such as funding early childhood education about mental and emotional health and funding preventative care, so that people have the foundational tools they need to lead happy lives.
“It was an honor to host Admiral Levine in the Ninth District and I commend her and the Biden-Harris administration for prioritizing the mental health crisis and making a concerted, national effort to tackle this issue. I also extend my gratitude to health care professionals in the Ninth District and across the country for their tireless work to help individuals and families work through the mental health challenges they are facing and live happier, healthier lives. I look forward to my continued work with the administration and mental health care leaders to develop effective solutions to this urgent crisis.”
SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement on the passing of Representative Don Young of Alaska, Dean of the House of Representatives and the longest-serving Republican in history.
“Yesterday, we lost a dedicated and honorable public servant in Congressman Young and today I join the entire country in mourning that loss. As the longest-serving Republican in the House of Representatives, Don spent 49 years serving the people of Alaska and working to strengthen his beloved state.
“During his many years of service Don earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for his home state of Alaska and a pragmatic, effective legislator. He will always be remembered for his commitment to Alaskans and his willingness to work across the aisle to get things done on their behalf.
“Don leaves behind many friends in the House and I extend my deepest condolences to his family as they grieve this tremendous loss.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, President Joe Biden signed the government spending package for Fiscal Year 2022 into law, which includes over $9 million in funding for ten community projects across Washington’s Ninth District that Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) secured through the appropriations process. Local leaders applauded the funding as an important step towards tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing communities across the Ninth District, making real progress to address housing and homelessness, health care and social services, child care, education and workforce training, and small businesses and entrepreneurship.
See below for the statements of support from community organization leaders:
African Diaspora Cultural Anchor Village in Tukwila
"The African Diaspora Cultural Anchor Village (ADCAV) is the first community-led project in south King County that provides a unique, culturally-specific place for African diaspora immigrants and refugees to live, learn, work, gather, and thrive. ACHD appreciates Congressman Adam Smith's support for this critical project and his tireless advocacy for communities throughout south King County.” - Hamdi Abdulle, Executive Director, African Community Housing & Development

AiPACE Adult Day Center and Clinic in Beacon Hill
"We're incredibly grateful for the bipartisan support for AiPACE. This is a major milestone in developing an adult day center and clinic appropriately located on Beacon Hill that will make aging-in-place possible for generations to come.” - Heidi Wong, Foundation Executive Director, ICHS 
Entrepreneurship Incubation Hub: Teaching & Commercial Kitchen for Refugee & Immigrant Community in Kent
“With the effort and commitment of Representative Adam Smith to secure $673,000 for the Commercial teaching kitchen, World Relief Western Washington is about to support refugees and immigrants to realize one of their many dreams in the community. Through this fund and the construction of the kitchen, many community members will have a common space to share the richness diverse cultural meals and provide opportunity to further refugee and immigrant businesses.” - Medard Ngueita, Executive Director, World Relief Seattle
Family First Community Center in Renton
"HealthPoint has been delighted to partner with former Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin to realize his vision for a community health and wellness center in the historically underserved Cascade/Benson neighborhood.  We are grateful for the support from Congressman Smith that will help make this vision a reality.  The new Family First Community Center will serve thousands of low-income families with quality health care services along with recreational and educational opportunities." - Lisa Yohalem, CEO, HealthPoint
Health One Expansion in Seattle
"The innovative Health One program is a smart, agile, and forward-thinking approach to improve public health and public safety. Further scaling this program means better responding to Seattle residents and neighborhoods with services and care during non-emergency events like substance abuse or behavioral health issues. Thank you to Representative Smith and Seattle's Congressional delegation for their critical support for this important program." - City of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell
Keiro Site in the Central District
“Africatown Community Land Trust is pleased that Keiro will be one of the projects awarded funding through this congressional process. ACLT will be able to provide 150 beds to homeless and unsheltered individuals as a result of these funds. We hope that many of the homeless residents that are housed at Keiro temporarily will become permanent residents when we open our doors. These residents will be supported by wraparound services. At the time of completion, Keiro will provide 285 units of permanently affordable rental housing that is much needed in Seattle -- a city that is suffering the dual crises of a lack of affordable housing and homelessness.” - Africatown Community Land Trust (Keiro Site)
Maritime High School (MHS) in South King County
“We are thrilled to have Rep. Smith’s support in creating a powerful, innovative educational experience that is equity-driven, student-centered, and maritime-focused. Maritime High School is dedicated to making a regional impact, and we are grateful for this investment in the transformation of our maritime workforce and industry.” - Tremain Holloway, Principal, Maritime High School
“We are deeply grateful to Representative Adam Smith for securing over $1 million in funding to support our new Maritime High School. This is a win not just for Highline Public Schools, but also for our region which relies so heavily on the maritime industry.” - Susan Enfield, Superintendent, Highline Public Schools
MLK Mixed Use Affordable Housing and Early Learning Center in Rainier Valley
“Thank you to Representative Adam Smith for addressing Rainier Valley’s affordable housing needs in the federal budget. Our site is conveniently located just south of the Othello Light Rail Station and has great access to employment, shopping, recreation and amenities. This transit-oriented development (TOD) will help reduce car traffic, reduce household spending on transportation, reduce pollution and promote healthier lifestyles.” - Sharon Lee, Executive Director, LIHI
“We thank Representative Adam Smith for supporting our early learning center where immigrant and refugee families can receive bilingual and bicultural services that honors diverse language, cultural, and religious backgrounds.” - Mahnaz Eshetu, Executive Director, Refugee Women’s Alliance
Wadajir Residences & Souq in Tukwila
“An international market at Wadajir will be a powerful incubator for small businesses in the Somali and immigrant communities of Tukwila, Washington. This federal investment will bring 15,000 square feet and 60 spaces to businesses at risk of displacement. We are grateful for Congressman Adam Smith’s leadership on this funding which furthers our work in partnership with Abu Bakr Islamic Center to support small business owners so vital to our community.” - Michelle Connor, President and CEO, Forterra
Youth Achievement Center in Columbia City
“These funds will go toward the development of a first of its kind Youth Achievement Center that will provide immediate services and intervention to the youth of South Seattle and King County. Many of these young people face many insurmountable challenges that can be alleviated if there is early intervention in their lives. YAC hopes to achieve that goal by creating over 90 units of permanently affordable housing, along with wrap around services to assist and provide a safety net for this vulnerable population, allowing them better short- and long-term outcomes. Our partners are excited as well, as this is the first step in the culmination of a long held dream to create this center by our coalition.” - Africatown Community Land Trust (Youth Achievement Center)
“The YAC will be a model for providing housing and opportunity for youth around our region. This $1,000,000 in earmarked federal allocation will help the YAC offer onsite wraparound services for youth in our communities. When we support youth leadership and center their experiences, our communities grow stronger. By creating safe and supportive spaces for young people to call home, we can ensure everyone in Seattle and King County can grow up to be healthy, thriving adults.” - King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay
“We started a program called the Youth Consortium. We started with about 25 young people from the community, all from different backgrounds, from the city; some were facing criminal charges, some were not, some were in school, some had dropped out of school. We did a canvassing of the streets and the young people came back and said, “We need a place for young people to live, to get services, somewhere to get help with education,” so we partnered with Creative Justice, Africatown Community Land Trust, and Councilmember Zahilay to develop the Youth Achievement Center.” - Dominique Davis, Founder and CEO, Community Passageways.
“We are in the midst of an uprising that is forcing us as a nation to face even more deeply the ways in which our systems and institutions very intentionally marginalize and disenfranchise black, indigenous and youth of color. Times such as these highlight the need for projects like the Youth Achievement Center: spaces birthed out of the genius and lived experiences of youth of color.” - Nikkita Oliver, Executive Director, Creative Justice.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a virtual address to a joint gathering of Congress on Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have demonstrated incredible courage in the face of Russian aggression and the tenacity of their resistance has been an inspiration. The United States and its allies and partners should continue to help the Ukrainians – offering humanitarian assistance, military aid, and more – while ensuring that Russia’s war in Ukraine does not widen. Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war against Ukraine has created a tragedy on a devastating scale, as President Zelenskyy described so clearly today.
“The United States under the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration has taken decisive action to hold Putin accountable and to stand with Ukraine. We will continue to support the Ukrainian people in their defense.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Empowering Individuals to Succeed Through Education and Workforce Training Act, which would establish a fund through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act dedicated to providing wrap-around support services and stipends for individuals in workforce training programs and two-year education programs. This funding would help expand access to these training programs by ensuring that participating individuals can cover everyday living costs.
“Education and workforce training programs are critical to advancing economic opportunity across the country, but many individuals face significant barriers to starting or completing these programs beyond just tuition. The Empowering Individuals to Succeed Through Education and Workforce Training Act will provide a dedicated stream of funding to cover costs such as housing, child care, and transportation – reducing financial barriers that would prevent individuals from pursuing or completing these programs,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “This legislation will directly invest in American workers - helping to ensure that more people have access to high-quality jobs, grow our workforce pipeline, and build a stronger economy.”
The Empowering Individuals to Succeed Through Education and Workforce Training Act would establish a new competitive grant program under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) dedicated exclusively to providing support services to individuals receiving education and workforce training. State and local workforce development boards would be able to apply for grants from the Department of Labor and would be required to demonstrate how they will partner with services providers or other organizations to provide specific support services.
These WIOA programs cover a range of training and education services such as occupational skills training and education; pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, other on-the-job training; skills upgrading and retraining; and adult education and literacy activities, such as English language or basic math classes.
The scope of support services that could be provided under this grant is broad, designed to ensure that local boards can establish partnerships and provide support services to best meet the needs of the local area. This includes assistance with transportation, child care or dependent care, and housing; linkages to community services; referrals to health care services; assistance with uniforms or other appropriate work attire and related tools, such as eyeglasses and protective gear; and legal aid services.
The Empowering Individuals to Succeed Through Education and Workforce Training Act is endorsed by several organizations including: YouthCare, Renton Technical College, South Seattle College, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), and ANEW.
A fact sheet about the bill can be found here.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
See below for statements of support for the Empowering Individuals to Succeed Through Education and Workforce Training Act.
“In our work with young people experiencing homelessness, we see the critical importance of addressing workforce development holistically. This means not only providing training and education, but also ensuring that our clients have access to the other essential services that they need to stabilize, learn, and grow. We are grateful to Representative Smith for recognizing that resources like childcare, health care, housing, and transportation are a critical component of meeting our shared goal of living wage careers for all Washingtonians.” - Audra Laymon, Senior Director of Engagement & Workforce Services, YouthCare
YouthCare works to end youth homelessness and to ensure that young people are valued for who they are and empowered to achieve their potential.
“This is crucial legislation to serve our workforce and support the economic and civic drivers in our communities.  Not only will these funds assist in defraying challenges of housing, transportation, and childcare, but will also connect students to health care, legal aid, and other community services. Students benefiting from these services are much more likely to complete the training for which they are well qualified and passionate.” - Kevin McCarthy, President, Renton Technical College
Renton Technical College is a nationally recognized college committed to helping their diverse student population succeed. Their 66 percent completion rate is the highest in the state among community and technical colleges – and among the highest in the country. And 82 percent of RTC graduates are employed nine months after graduation.
“Education and training outcomes increase exponentially when students also have access to wrap around support services that help provide a stable foundation to focus on learning. These support services are exactly the critical needs for many of our students along their career pathway to living-wage jobs.” - Veronica Davis, Executive Dean of Professional Technical and Workforce Education, South Seattle College
Established in 1969 and located on an 87-acre hilltop campus in West Seattle, South Seattle College offers panoramic views of the city skyline and surrounding mountains. This unique setting serves as a portal of opportunity for students with diverse needs to meet their educational and career goals. 
“Our national workforce system is intended to help working people advance in their careers and achieve economic stability. Unfortunately, many job seekers with low-incomes, especially Black and Latinx workers, immigrants, opportunity youth and individuals impacted by the criminal legal system are unable to access the supports they need to succeed,” said Olivia Golden, Executive Director of The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “The ‘Empowering Individuals to Succeed Through Education and Workforce Training Act’ will help workers who face multiple structural barriers to employment get access to the supportive services they need to complete workforce training and education programs that can lead to higher paying jobs. We applaud Representative Smith for again introducing this important legislation.”
CLASP is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty nonprofit advancing policy solutions to improve the lives of people with low incomes. CLASP develops practical yet visionary strategies for reducing poverty, promoting economic opportunity, and addressing institutional and racial barriers faced by people of color.