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Former Rep. Dawn Morrell will run for open House seat

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
March 20, 2012 12:51 pm
Dawn Morrell

Two years after her loss by 30 votes to Hans Zeiger, Democrat Dawn Morrell will try to return to the House.

The Good Samaritan Hospital nurse announced today she would run to represent the same Puyallup-area district, the 25th, but in a different seat, the one opened by Rep. Bruce Dammeier’s decision to run for the state Senate.

Morrell will face Shelly Schlumpf, the Republican CEO of the Puyallup Sumner Chamber of Commerce.

Morrell was Pierce County’s highest ranking member of legislative leadership when she was defeated. She was chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, the No. 3 position in that caucus.

She focused on health issues in Olympia, and in her announcement today singled out contraception debates as a reason she’s running, saying “it is shocking that politicians in Washington DC and here at home are more worried about denying contraception to women than they are providing jobs with affordable health care coverage to struggling middle class families.”

The release didn’t say which local politicians  are trying to deny contraception to women, and that topic hasn’t gotten the kind of attention in Olympia that it has at the federal level. But  state lawmakers have made cuts to a wide variety of health spending including family-planning programs, and family planning would take another cut under a proposed Senate Republican budget.

Here’s her news release:

Critical Care Nurse Dawn Morrell to Run for State House

Long time Puyallup leader and registered nurse seeks to return to Olympia to continue work on health care & senior issues, veteran services and government reform.

Puyallup – Former Representative Dawn Morrell, who served 8 years and established herself as a leading voice for veterans, seniors and access to affordable health care, will run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Bruce Dammeier (R-Puyallup), who is running for the Senate.  Morrell, a 28 year critical care nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, was motivated to return to the legislature by recent Federal and State debates over contraception coverage for women, and what she sees as a lack of focus on important economic issues.

“It is shocking that politicians in Washington DC and here at home are more worried about denying contraception to women than they are providing jobs with affordable health care coverage to struggling middle class families,” said Morrell.  “We need legislative leaders focused on making the reforms needed to make our economy work, not engaging in partisan fights over who should receive basic health care.”

While in the legislature Morrell served in House leadership, where she helped forge bi-partisan proposals to increase budget efficiency and accountability, such as the Priorities of Government and zero-based budgeting strategies.  Dawn was recognized as the 2007 Veteran’s Legislator of the Year for her work on the Veterans’ Innovations Program that provided education, training, and employment services for veterans, and for her work to expand college tuition waivers for veterans.

“Olympia faces some incredibly tough challenges and we need to fundamentally change the ways we do business,” said Morrell.  “I bring a unique experience as an active nurse who works with patients and doctors every day and as a former legislator who helped craft budgets.  We need to look at much needed reforms so that we are meeting our obligations to fully fund our schools, closing unnecessary corporate tax loopholes and lowering health care costs so our families and businesses can thrive.”

Morrell, who lost her 2010 re-election by only 30 votes in a historically difficult year for Democrats, believes her focus on reform and bi-partisanship will once again serve her constituents well in this traditional swing district.

“I believe that Democrats and Republicans need to concentrate on the basics,” said Morrell. “Health care is not a partisan issue and cancer doesn’t care what political party you are from. I have knocked on thousands of doors in my community and I understand the priorities and concerns of my neighbors and want to lend my proven voice to change the dialogue and focus on our shared priorities —from education funding to workforce training and help for small business we need to move our state forward.”

Dawn Morrell has lived in Puyallup for 26 years with her husband Jim, a retired Air Force pilot. Dawn and Jim have been married for 40 years and have two children and five grandchildren. Their two children, Jereme and Jameson, attended Puyallup public schools and graduated from Rogers High School.

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