Dear Friends, 

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee announced that 10 new counties are officially eligible to apply to move into Phase 2 of our Safe Start recovery plan. Counties are eligible to apply if they have fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over 14-day period.

Among the new counties eligible to apply are the San Juan Islands. The county is actively working to receive the waiver necessary to move into Phase 2 and take the next step towards reopening and recovering. Here’s what you need to know about Phase 2:

  • All components of Phase 1 will carry into the start of Phase 2, which will include outdoor activities in small groups with people from outside one’s household, as well as limited non-essential travel within proximity of one’s home.
  • Additional modifications to restrictions in Phase 2 affecting business will include allowing:
    • Remaining manufacturing and construction phases;
    • Restaurants and taverns to serve at less than 50% capacity, with table sizes no larger than 5 people and no bar area seating;
    • Hair and nail salons;
    • Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions);
    • Real estate;
    • Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged) In-home/domestic services (i.e., nannies, housecleaning);
    • Pet grooming;

Along with the move into Phase 2, San Juan will also institute a facial covering requirement. San Juan County Health Officer Frank James, M.D. issued an order last Friday that will mandate anyone entering buildings or businesses to wear a cloth face covering. The order will go into effect as the county moves into Phase 2, and will include exceptions – read the full order here.

The Whatcom County Health Officer, Greg Stern, M.D., issued a similar order earlier this week. Whatcom residents will also need to wear facial coverings when at indoor public settings, or outdoor public locations when maintaining six feet of social distance is not possible. The Whatcom County order goes into effect today, May 22nd. Read the full Whatcom order here.

As our counties in the 40th LD and counties across the state continue to move through the Safe Start recovery plan, we must accept and embrace these additional precautions that will prevent additional spread of COVID-19.

Wearing a face mask protects you, and the people around you. By wearing one we can help each other and our communities to stay safe and healthy. This is something that must be done together, and I know that we will succeed.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy” 
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Running Unopposed

Representing the 40th LD on your behalf these past two years has been tremendous and humbling. I am so grateful for the continued support you show me, the love that I have felt, and all the hard work that we have done to accomplish so much tomorrow.

With the filing deadline to run for office coming and going last Friday, I will officially be running unopposed this fall. I am thrilled to have the honor of representing you for another term in Olympia, and together we can turn our focus to lifting up other candidates in the 40th LD and across Washington State.

Make no mistake – I want to hear from you, and I want to sit down (virtually!) to discuss the issues closest to your heart, and your vision for the future of the 40th LD. We will be hosting a number of events in the coming weeks and months where you and I can connect – including this coming Tuesday!

Tele-Tuesday With Debra!

Join me on Facebook Live for Tele-Tuesday with Debra and local experts and leaders!

As a way to virtually stay connected with community, we’re hosting Tele-Tuesdays to discuss issues that are at the top of all of our minds.

On Tuesday, May 26 at 12:15PM I’ll be sitting down to discuss housing and homelessness with local experts and leaders. I am excited to be joined by Greg Winters, Lisa Byers, Rep. Nicole Macri, and all of you. Click here to RSVP.

So grab some lunch, bring your questions, and we’ll “see” you on Facebook Live!

Mount St. Helens 

Forty years ago, on the morning of May 18th 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in Southwest Washington. The eruption lasted nine hours, and would take 57 lives in the process.

As we grappled with the effects of that terrible day, Washington came together to support one another as we dealt with, and overcame, that historic challenge.

Forty years later we are facing another challenge that calls for unity and collaboration. Though there may not be images so striking as ash flying into the air, COVID-19 challenges us each day to help each other and work as a community, as a state, and as a country.

COVID-19 Housing and Homelesssness Impacts

As COVID-19 has altered the way we think about our day-to-day lives, it has also brought down a stronger spotlight on the issue of housing and homelessness in the 40th LD, Washington State, and our country.

This week, Representative Nicole Macri (43rd LD) and I met virtually to discuss developments in nonprofit housing and the homelessness response as we grapple with the current pandemic.

Together we must ensure that those without homes have a safe place to stay, and that those with homes are secure as long as it takes to reopen our economy and return Washingtonians to work. Governor Inslee extended his moratorium on evictions through June 4th, and it’s crucial that we continue to help those in our community that need it most beyond that date.

A safe place to stay is important regardless of COVID-19, but so many now face uncertainty as they look towards the future. There are great resources for where to find the assistance you might need, and I will continue to bring people together to find a path forward that ensures all are able to have, and keep, a roof over their heads.

Providing For Our Farm Workers 

So many of my close colleagues have been coming to the kitchen table to discuss how we can best protect our farmers and farm workers right here in Washington State. Chief among them have been Representative Mike Sells (Chair of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee), Senator Karen Keiser (Chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee), and Senator Rebecca Saldaña. We have come together with the Governor’s Office, state agencies, migrant community organizations, growers organizations, and stakeholders to address this vital group of workers that do so much for us across the state.

We have worked together with the American Farm Bureau Federation to assess the need of farm workers across the state. Those who come to Washington to grow, harvest, and transport our food play an integral part in keeping our communities running. They literally put the food on our table, and now more than ever we must do everything in our power to keep them safe and healthy.

Along with the Farm Bureau, we have delivered thousands of masks to farm workers across the state, helping to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the Farm Bureau is also delivering 15,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, with 9,000 more gallons coming to our migrant farm workers.

The Skagit has one of the largest migrant farm worker populations in Washington State, and I am spreading my arms out wide to bring together a coalition of organizations dedicated to protecting their health and safety. Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, the Farm Workers Bureau, Skagit distributors, and so many more are working to support Community 2 Community and our Farmers Unions as we bring the necessary PPE and sanitizer to ensure we have a healthy and safe workplace for all.

Virtual House Party! 

Earlier this week, John Hoyt, Jay Manning, and Dennis McLerran–the former Region 10 Administrator of the EPA under the Obama Administration, hosted an incredible virtual house party that brought together so many of my close friends and colleagues who have worked tirelessly over their careers to protect our environment, and help it thrive.

It was such a pleasure to sit down and chat with people so passionate about these issues, and so experienced in fighting for environmental justice and the preservation of our incredible wildlife and ecosystems right here in Washington State.

I was thrilled to have the chance to talk about my work with such a fantastic group of people. It’s going to take years to make substantial change to our environment, and to correct the mistakes that we’ve made. That’s why we have these conversations now – we start with a single step and continue to put one foot in front of the other as we bring Mother Earth back to where she should be.

It is going to take time to modernize the Growth Management Act, to fully embrace the steps we have to take to encourage and foster salmon recovery in our vital waterways. It will take time to develop plans and work on a farm bill, to provide proper protection to our wildlife and ecosystems. This is not something we shy away from – here in the 40th we know that a long view creates the best results. We work for the seven generations to come, and I will always have them in mind as we create sustainable policies and practices for our environment.

Thank you to everyone who joined our virtual house party this week! It was a truly fun event, and the memory already brings a smile to my face. I hope to see you all again very soon!

Don’t Forget To Fill Out The Census!

With everything that has already gone on in 2020, it’s easy to forget that it’s a census year! Population totals dictate how federal funds are allocated, so filling out the census might be the easiest way you can help your community.

It has never been easier – head over to the 2020 Census website and fill it out online! It takes just a few minutes to complete, and goes a long way towards making sure you are counted and your voice is heard.