As Attorney General of Washington, community safety has been one of my top priorities, so I’ve been very passionate about using the unique role of my office to support prevention programs and initiatives aimed at helping youth make healthy lifestyle choices. That’s why it’s such a great honor to have been named one of the Century Council’s 20 People to Watch in 2011.
In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of working on many important youth issues. The Century Council has been an invaluable partner in helping us really connect with young people, not only in Washington, but across America, in innovative ways that we know are working.
We’ve joined Washington’s State Patrol, Traffic Safety Commission, Liquor Control Board (LCB) and the Century Council in the “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign against providing alcohol to minors. We’ve also partnered with LCB on a middle school classroom presentation program, “Start Talking Before They Start Drinking.” And we’ve engaged in a number of communications events, public service announcements and media initiatives speaking out against underage drinking and encouraging youth to say “no” to alcohol.
A big highlight of our work was, of course, the fantastic opportunity to team with the Century Council and Olympic champion Apolo Ohno, one of America’s most admired athletes and greatest teen role models, for the Ask, Listen and Learn program that is reaching middle schools all over the country.
In addition to education and outreach partnerships, we’ve been able to successfully employ the power of the Attorney General’s Office to support the prevention community in legislative and regulatory work as well, such as the efforts to ban alcoholic energy drinks because of the huge health and safety dangers these products pose to our young people.
I’m also very proud of my office’s role in recent years providing crucial funding for our state’s Fall Prevention Summit and Spring Youth Forum, both hugely successful annual events that bring together students from all across Washington to share ideas and develop prevention programs that they can take home and implement in their own schools and communities.
I believe there is no greater investment that we can make into our communities than supporting the health and well-being of our young people. That’s why preventing underage drinking and youth access to alcohol must always remain a top priority for every community.
While my term as Attorney General ends in January, I do still have a few more terms to serve as a parent of teens! As I continue my involvement with programs and organizations that serve young people, I’ll continue to be thankful for the great work of the Century Council and all of the dedicated partners who contribute so much to our state.