MSC funding among Appleton’s priorities

OLYMPIA — The short 2006 Washington state legislative session doesn’t leave much time to get things done but Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) is aiming to leave her mark on the brief session.

Among her priorities are securing funding for the Marine Science Center, which closed its doors to the public in March; continuing support for Olympic College; and snaring money for an early childhood health program in Kitsap County.

“We haven’t started with the general fund budget yet but I’ve submitted a budget proviso to see if we can get funding for two years,” Rep. Appleton said of her efforts to assist the MSC.

The funding would initially be $250,000 for one year so the center could at least get a start, she said, noting that another funding request would be submitted in 2007, which is when the state’s biennial budget is developed.

Even though the MSC may have more visibility than Olympic College’s nursing program at its Olhava campus, Appleton said she is continuing her push for a four-year program for the college.

“It’s good for people at Olympic and I think it’s terrific,” she said.

Along with a boosted nursing program, the health and welfare of younger children are of great concern to Appleton, and are among the reasons she is working to secure funding for a pilot program for a practical health nurse to visit all newborns in the county.

“A practical health nurse can assess if there are any developmental difficulties and can refer families to help they might need, regardless of income,” she said.

Between the ages of newborn to 3 and from 3-years-old to kindergarten are critical ages in a child’s development, she said.

“It’s good to give families an extra helping hand,” Appleton said.

Even though she has her hands full during the shortened session, Appleton said she is looking forward to working with newly elected Mayor Kathryn Quade.

“People tend to get jaded after awhile and this change is good,” Appleton said.

Quade is going to be vibrant is going to think in different ways than her predecessors, she said.

“I hope the city council supports the mayor in a lot of her visions,” Appleton said. “That’s the key.”

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