Monthly Archive: October 2020

Workers Still Waiting for ESD Benefits!

Hundreds of thousands of workers in Washington lost work and income as a result of the COVID and the Stay Home Orders. Although the federal government and State responded by passing crucial policies to expand unemployment benefits, the Governor and his Employment Security Department (ESD) failed to deliver benefits and tens of thousands of unemployed workers still wait for their benefits in the wake of ESD paying criminals over $500 million in fraudulent benefits.

This summer, the state issued more than $576 million to fraudulent claims while hard working Washingtonians suffered and continue to struggle. The State has still not accounted for over $200 million from the fraudulent disbursements while families scramble to find solutions. ESD must set a clear timeline for processing claims and a review process of previous denials.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

According to, over six months into the crisis, ESD claims they’ve corrected course and cleared their backlog of applicants, releasing weekly progress reports that appear to prove they’ve reined in delays. But the reality is that many workers who applied as early as March still haven’t received a single payment, or even a meaningful response from ESD.

The Governor and ESD created ‘Operation 100%’ in August and promised to clear the backlog and process all the claims filed since March. Unfortunately for thousands of Washingtonians, the Governor Inslee’s promise was not kept and numerous workers provided first hand testimonials to Working Washington detailing their frustrations.

Despite ESD audits evidencing significant deficiencies, the Governor stands by ESD decisions that left and continue to leave families and businesses struggling. As your State Representative, I will advocate for government transparency and policies that hold agencies accountable to the citizens of Washington.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

Thurston County Chamber Video Voters Guide

I’m Peter Abbarno, Candidate for the State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District. I appreciate the opportunity from the Thurston County Chamber of commerce to be part of the on-line video voter’s guide.

The 20th District includes South Thurston County, virtually all of Lewis County, East Cowlitz County, and the City of Woodland in Clark County. To say the least, it is a large district with a lot of opportunity . . . if we create the right economic atmosphere.

I am a business owner and attorney with offices in Olympia and Centralia, I am the mayor pro-tem in the City of Centralia, but most importantly, I am a husband and father. My wife is an 8th grade math teacher at Centralia Middle School and my children are in 4th and 2nd grade.

I am running, as a father and husband, to make our communities safer and more affordable for working families.  Good paying family wage jobs and diverse economic opportunities should not be the sole province of King County and Seattle. I won’t perpetuate the urban – rural divide, but help bridge the gap by emphasizing the importance of every corner of the 20th District and Washington State!

Leaders must recognize what I do – cities, counties, and are co-dependent and opportunity must be fostered in every corner, including here in Thurston County and in the 20th District.  Whether it is Black River Blues Blueberry farm in Rochester, Sandstone Distillery in Tenino, or Woodland Truck Lines in Cowlitz County, I’ll help create an environment of opportunity for businesses to be successful. 

As a business owner myself, I support growing our economy by eliminating unnecessary regulatory barriers, investing in workforce development, creating child care and early learning opportunities for families, incentivizing business growth and job creation, and reducing the overwhelming tax burden on families and small businesses. 

I hope I can count on your support and vote.  Again, I want to thank the Thurston County Chamber for this opportunity to participate in the virtual voters guide. To learn more about my campaign visit or find me on social media at the committee to elect peter Abbarno.

Peter Abbarno, Candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District

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Internet Access and Infrastructure among top issues for Abbarno

Despite the Legislature passing bipartisan broadband legislation in 2019, access to reliable internet is a concern to many working families, seniors, and small businesses in SW Washington.

Last year, Second Substitute Senate Bill 5511 established the Governor’s Statewide Broadband Office and required the Public Works Board to establish a competitive grant and loan program to promote access to broadband service to unserved and underserved areas, which includes many areas in SW Washington and the 20th District.

Senate Bill 5511 was a step forward, but COVID-19 has exposed greater vulnerability and inequity in rural Washington. We need a leap, not just a step, forward. Rather than funding individual and unconnected projects, we must address rural broadband regionally through more comprehensive infrastructure planning and investments.

The lack of reliable and accessible internet is about equity for our students trying to earn a quality education, seniors trying to stay connected with enrichment programs, businesses trying to compete nationally and globally, and medical providers trying to treat vulnerable patients through telemedicine.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

In a recent Daily News article, (September 22, 2020), Abbarno suggested using a “large infrastructure package” to connect Lewis, Thurston and Cowlitz counties to better broadband connections already established in the Vancouver area. “What we need to do with rural broadband is we need to start thinking more regionally and not piecemeal rural broadband together,” Abbarno said.

Reliable and accessible internet is among the top issues I discuss with families, seniors, the medical community, and small businesses in the 20th District. As state representative, I will work with my colleagues from both parties to help provide better internet for all of SW Washington.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

Current grant and loan programs include the Community Economic Revitalization Board Rural Broadband Program and the Public Works Board Broadband Construction Grants.

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