Gluesenkamp Perez Visits High School CTE Program, Malt Plant, Independent Pharmacy in Clark County

Jan 26, 2024

This Wednesday, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) visited Clark County, where she toured Washougal High School’s CTE program and Great Western Malting to discuss her work to strengthen the skilled trades and support local producers. She also visited Square Care, an independent pharmacy, and met with women in LIUNA Local 335 about ways to expand access to affordable childcare.

“Today, I had the opportunity to meet with some talented students who will be the future of our skilled trades here in Southwest Washington. These careers are absolutely vital to keeping our communities running, and it’s critical that Congress and our culture values them as such,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “A major part of making careers in the trades accessible is ensuring folks have the support they need when they’re working long hours. I enjoyed speaking with local women working in organized Labor about how we can get rid of obstacles to affordable childcare access and encourage more women to participate in these meaningful careers.”

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez began her day with a tour of Washougal High School’s career and technical education (CTE) program, which included Small Engines, Fine Arts, Woodworking, and Computer Applications courses.

She spoke to students about the projects they’re working on, as well as with instructors about how they’re connecting students to CTE opportunities early and setting them up for success after graduation.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez introduced the bipartisan Student Debt Alternative and CTE Awareness Act to encourage more young people to pursue paths in the skilled trades and understand the financial obligations of a four-year degree. She also introduced bipartisan legislation to help small businesses hire trade school grads and support them in starting their own businesses and strengthen forestry career training.

The Congresswoman has supported full funding for Perkins grants that support state CTE programs.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visits Square Care in Vancouver, WA.

Afterward, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visited Square Care Medical and Pharmacy in Vancouver. They spoke about the important role of independent pharmacies in their communities and the relationships they build with their patients.

They also discussed the challenges facing small pharmacies as they continue to decline in number, especially in rural communities.

Rep. Gluesenkamp introduced legislation in November to support patients’ access to lower-priced generic prescription drugs and limit harmful anticompetitive practices.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez tours Great Western Malting in Vancouver, WA.

The Congresswoman then toured Great Western Malting, a malt plant in Vancouver which supplies brewers, distillers, and food processors in the region with their malts. She saw the four stages of the malting process and discussed her $4.5 million FY24 community project funding (CPF) request for the Port of Chehalis to construct a public grain storage and transloading facility.

Great Western Malting sources barley from the Chehalis Valley and would be able to take more product from Southwest Washington farmers as a downstream beneficiary of the port’s facility. In September, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez helped secure a $3.1 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for the project – which would create jobs, support farmers, and strengthen the local economy.

As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez has been focused on ensuring local priorities are reflected in the Farm Bill and introduced bipartisan legislation to increase oversight of foreign ownership of American farmland, so Southwest Washington family farms aren’t squeezed out.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez meets with members of LIUNA Local 335 in Vancouver, WA.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez finished the day meeting with women in construction and the trades from LIUNA Local 335. They discussed childcare access and ways to encourage more women to enter the trades.

Living in a rural community and working in the trades, the Congresswoman and her husband experienced the difficulties of accessing quality, affordable childcare and would have to drive long distances or bring their son into their auto repair and machine shop.

These experiences have informed Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez’s work in Congress, and she introduced the bipartisan Expanding Childcare in Rural America Act to improve the cost, availability, and quality of rural childcare options.

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