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It's a new round of e-mailed letters to the editor. This edition features a thanks to the Mayor for his proposed sugary drink tax, and offers a solution to combat the AIDS epidemic; or really, draws attention to a solution that already exists...

Sugary Drink Tax is a Smart Investment in Kids

I’d like to thank Mayor Murray for investing in young children by including funding for early childhood education in his proposed city sugary drink tax. We have to think about what benefits all of Seattle’s children, because we want the best for each and every one of them.

All children deserve an equal opportunity for a strong start in life. By age five, a child’s brain is almost completely developed—yet too many children in Seattle do not have access to high-quality preschool. As a result, many of these children never catch up.

In addition to providing funding for early learning programs, this new source of revenue will help Seattle fund programs that are vital to the success and health of underserved communities, such as chronic disease prevention programs and public safety.

This plan is a first step, but there is much more work we need to do. Please join me in urging the city council to support this smart and necessary investment in the future of Seattle and our economy.

Brenda Blasingame
Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships for U.S. Programs at Save the Children.
Seattle, WA

If you ask people living in the West about Tuberculosis (TB), they will most likely tell you that it is a disease of the past. Unfortunately, TB is still very much alive and it is currently the leading global infectious disease killer. TB also happens to be the primary cause of death for those infected with HIV/AIDS. We have the power to end AIDS by making treatments accessible for more infected individuals. Research has shown that for AIDS, treatment equals prevention, so it is crucial that we increase funding for AIDS and TB treatments. Funding for PEPFAR [the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] has severely declined by hundreds of millions of dollars in the last five years. We need to prioritize investing in treatments in order to continue the progress we’ve made to fight the AIDS epidemic.

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The solution is to increase funding to PEPFAR by $667 million dollars for the next three years in order to reach the goal of $2 billion dollars by 2020. I believe that our politicians have a moral responsibility to do what they can to help fight the AIDS epidemic by supporting increased funding for treatment. I am asking Senator Patty Murray to pledge her support for increased PEPFAR funding in order to help save the lives of millions of people. Throughout her career in public office, Senator Murray has been an effective advocate for improving healthcare and protecting vulnerable populations. I urge Senator Murray to stand by her beliefs and do her part in the fight to end AIDS.

Madhavi Kuthanur
Member, Partners in Health Engage