Washington Gov. Jay Inslee visits key spots in Southwest Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee visits Fruit Valley Elementary on April 16, 2018. KATU photo

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Gov. Jay Inslee visited Southwest Washington Monday to make several stops and discuss issues in the area.

The first stop on the tour for the governor and his wife, Trudi, was at Fruit Valley Elementary. The school in the Vancouver School District is a model for a new statewide program the governor recently signed into law, “Breakfast After the Bell.” The program provides qualified students with breakfast, no matter if they’re late to school or not. The new law will now increase the number of programs in high need schools across the state starting in the 2019-2020 school year.

Nearly 88 percent of the students at Fruit Valley qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and the district has been feeding kids, even if they’re late to school, for years. The Breakfast After the Bell program will continue this idea, but now makes it a state law. Districts will also have to provide snacks and farm fresh local produce. District administrators say that the kids get excited to try new foods.

During his visit, the governor also spent time with third grade students who shared the importance of food to their studies and what they like to eat.

A group of parent volunteers, also met Inslee during his visit. They said they appreciate the way the school makes them feel like family, and the care their children receive. Brenda Pintor de Cerrato has, in the past, struggled to feed her children. She says this program has really helped her children succeed.

"I am very happy that if my kids had a doctor's appointment or they were late to school, that they got to school and every time they were fed. That they were ready to go to the next step of their education and go to class without an empty stomach. And that makes a big difference."

Inslee said, "This is one step more down the road of progress so that every child is ready to learn."

Other stops on the Governor’s tour included the local YMCA to talk about homelessness with organizations that serve that portion of the community. He also spent time with local business, school superintendents and community college leaders to discuss the Career Connect Initiative.

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