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Outstanding Legislator

Dick Muri receives award for serving vets

Washington State Representative Dick Muri receives the 2015 Outstanding Legislator award from Lourdes Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Jan. 7. Courtesy photo

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Washington State Representative Dick Muri, who serves the 28th Legislative District (which includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord and surrounding areas), received the 2015 Outstanding Legislator award recognizing his service to the veteran community he represents, Jan. 7.  He recalled his reaction, upon learning he won the award last year, was "I did?"

He had a similar reaction 20 years ago, upon winning the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award; in point of fact he'd forgotten about that award when reminded of it, recently.  Both awards were unexpected; both awards recognized him for service above and beyond what was expected of him.  But Muri didn't expect either award.  He reflected, "sometimes the best awards are the ones you didn't expect."  Of the most recent award, he stated, "The reason I won this was primarily for supporting JBLM and veterans ... for basically doing my job."  

Lourdes (Alfie) Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, who presented the award to Muri, said the yearly Outstanding Legislator award is conferred upon the senators and representatives "who have done great work on behalf of veterans and their families." Alvarado-Ramos said that this award is "a way to say thank you," and emphasized, "this is not about partisan politics.  Veterans have no color; there is no blue or red."

Speaking of Muri, Alvarado-Ramos stated, "He's always been active on veterans issues in Washington." She added, "One of the reasons he was selected was that he was the primary sponsor or co-sponsor of nine bills, many of which passed. She explained that these bills, when passed, "get veterans more benefits or breaks," and  help veterans to "have a level playing field."  Proposed legislation acts as a way, Alvarado-Ramos said, to "honor our veterans' sacrifice."

Just as the legislation proposed and passed honors veterans' sacrifice and service, the Legislator of the Year award honors legislators' service to the veteran community.  This service, Muri explained, is "not only my duty, it's my passion."   This passion is something that he's developed and evolved throughout his professional career. He retired from the Air Force after 22 years of service, and was the Chief of Quality Management at McChord Air Force Base from 1992-1997.  He served as a Pierce County Councilmember from 2003 until he was appointed by the Pierce County Council to fill Representative Steve O'Ban's vacated seat in the State Senate.

In 2015, Muri sponsored House Bill 1241, intended to give employers a tax credit for hiring unemployed veterans.  He co-sponsored House Bill 1052, which was passed, which requires universities to make early course registration available to veterans, National Guard members and their families. A recent transportation package will bring improvements to the I-5 JBLM corridor, helping soldiers on a daily basis by easing gridlock; Muri looks ahead to continuing bipartisan work toward creation of a new transportation plan to ease traffic gridlock in the Nisqually stretch of I-5. 

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