Lawmakers should invest in early learning | Letter

Please ask Rep. Reichert and Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to invest in kids.

Valentine’s Day is for many a time of love, happiness and thankfulness for the loved ones in our lives. Unfortunately millions of families around the world may have found it difficult to celebrate this day last week because their children don’t have access to education, proper medical care and the opportunity to succeed. Nearly 250 years after our nation was founded, I believe we still have the core values our founding fathers laid out: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, when we reflect on the society we live in today, do all people still maintain these fundamental rights? Unfortunately, many do not.

Every day, 15,000 children around the world die from treatable illnesses like pneumonia and malaria. We know what works to save their lives, but we need more funding in order to do so. Let’s make sure we don’t give up on those 15,000 kids. Along with basic health care, early education is a saving grace for less fortunate kids. It has long been established that education is the pillar of equality in America. Our lawmakers should provide all children with equal access to opportunity, and education is the most effective way to do so. Many families cannot afford to pay for a high-quality preschool program for their children, but that does not mean that their kids should be left behind.

I’d like to thank Congress for passing the bipartisan budget deal on Feb. 9, which invests in home visiting programs and promises to invest in child care. Unfortunately, kids around the world were left out. As a tribute to Valentine’s Day, please join me in asking Rep. Dave Reichert and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to have a heart and invest in kids by providing robust funding for critical early learning, child care and global health programs in the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets.

Mihir Sardesai