Dear Friends, 

This has been a difficult week for many in our community, and across the country.

From coast to coast we are seeing the people come out and protest the unjust death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25th. For too long our black brothers and sisters have felt the heavy hand of oppression, and generation after generation has suffered under the weight of systemic racism.

In this time of hardship, my heart is with the family of George Floyd and the victims of racism. On behalf of myself and my campaign, we stand with Black Lives Matter. 

Watching people across the country come out and make sure that their voices are heard has brought me hope and lifted me up. These are our communities, and together we are able to make a difference by uniting towards a common goal and persevering through hardships.

I will never stop working to bring everyone together at my kitchen table to engage in conversation and problem solving that benefits everyone. Our work may never be done, but each day we move one step closer towards a society that truly holds everyone equal, and provides justice for all.

Thank you to all those who have come out to peacefully protest across the country, and right here in the 40th LD. You are heard, and you are loved. Your voice is helping drive change for the better, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy” 
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Weekly Trivia! 

Everett Washington is the site of the world’s largest building by volume – what is the building’s purpose?

Moving Into Phase 2

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee announced that the new required COVID-19 case rate for counties to move into Phase 2 of the “Safe Start” reopening program is 25 confirmed cases per 100,000 people over a 14 day period.

Just today Governor Inslee announced that 14 new counties have advanced to a new phase today, with 6 counties moving into Phase 2. As of today, San Juan, Whatcom, and Skagit counties have all moved into Phase 2 of the “Safe Start” reopening program.

This is a tremendous step forward for the state of Washington and for the 40th LD. With continued vigilance and safety measures we will be able to reopen our businesses across the state and move into Phase 3, and beyond.

Here are the additional guidelines for businesses that are able to reopen under Phase 2:

Thanking Our YMCA’s

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of adjustment and struggle for so many of us, but it has also been a story of community supporting community and working hard to lift up those who need help.

The YMCA’s here in the 40th and across Washington State have stepped up in a major way in the past few months, and they deserve our thanks and support.

Despite being closed since March 16th, local YMCA’s continue to offer childcare to essential workers and have partnered with local school districts to help those in need. There are so many people who go out each day to help treat the sick and care for those who need it, and removing the stress of finding someone or someplace to care for their children while they work to keep us safe and healthy is a tremendous service.

In addition to this, they have also been delivering meals and providing senior welfare checks, helping those who need it most. Statewide in Washington, YMCA’s have put out $3.8 million to help our communities. The services they provide, especially childcare, are key to business recovery as we move through the Safe Start program.

Thank you to the YMCA’s, and all those who work so hard there to support our towns, our essential workers, and our elders. I am committed to providing additional support to the YMCA’s as we reopen our businesses across the state.

Visitors In Bellingham Bay

As we’ve stayed socially distant to prevent further spread of COVID-19, we’ve watched as mother earth has taken a great deep breath. Across the country and around the world we’ve watched as skies have cleared and animals have enjoyed their spaces as they haven’t in years.

We’re not different right here in the 40th LD. Just last week in Bellingham Bay we had a rare visit from a beautiful group of creatures.

A family of Orca visited Bellingham, including Tl’uk, the juvenile gray or white orca that has been spotted around the Puget Sound with his family. At least five orca were spotted swimming and splashing around close to shore in Bellingham.

I’m envious of those who were lucky enough to see this in person! It’s such a tremendous sight to see majestic creatures enjoying their native habitat and saying hello. We’ve come a long way providing protection to our resident orcas, and this only serves as further evidence that we need to help them in any way that we can.

Eviction Moratorium Extended 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact Washington state by keeping businesses closed and employees at home, Governor Jay Inslee has consistently updated and extended his moratorium on evictions across the state. In doing so, Governor Inslee is keeping people and families in their homes, and he deserves our thanks.

The moratorium was set to expire this week, but the Governor issued a proclamation extending the moratorium through August 1, 2020, and adding a number of updates and modifications. Those include:

  • Prohibiting retaliation against any tenant who invokes rights or protections under the proclamation;
  • Permitting eviction based on property damage, except for damage that is not urgent in nature, including conditions that were known or knowable to the landlord prior to the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Establishing a defense to any lawsuit for tenants if a landlord fails to offer a reasonable repayment plan;
  • Establishing a minimum of a 14-day length of stay at a hotel, motel or at other non-traditional dwelling situations in order to trigger the application of this proclamation to those dwelling situations; and
  • Allowing owners to evict tenants if the owner plans to occupy or sell the property, after providing at least 60 days’ notice; and
  • Exempting commercial property rent increases that were executed in a rental agreement prior to the date the state of emergency was declared, on February 29.

Read Governor Inslee’s full proclamation here.

COVID-19 Impacts on Homelessness 

Yesterday I was joined by Representative Nicole Macri (43rd LD), Representative Alex Ramel (40th LD), and Michele Thomas, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance to discuss the impacts COVID-19 has had on our homeless community and what policy and assistance is needed at the state level.

As we gear up for a potential special legislative session, it is critical we hear from our boots on the ground community experts to inform our legislative efforts. Helping our homeless brothers and sisters has never been more important. I am ready to do whatever I can to provide food and supplies, and fight to get a roof over everyone’s head.

Our role here is to hear how you all are doing, and to share your immediate COVID Actions tied to homelessness that may be helpful as we head into next special session and the 2021 session. Thank you to everyone who joined to talk about this issue, and thank you to Representatives Macri and Ramel, and Michele Thomas for helping lead the way in this important discussion.

Updated Health and Safety Guidelines for Farmworkers 

The people who work to grow, harvest, and transport our food are an incredibly important part of the foundation of our communities. They keep our stomachs full, and it must be an absolute priority that we keep them safe in these trying times.

We’ve discussed efforts to provide sanitation and PPE to our farmworkers in the past, as well as ways to bring stronger protection and prevention methods in the time of COVID-19. Last week, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation providing additional health and safety guidelines to protect our farm workers.

This proclamation requires all agricultural employers to comply with the Agriculture COVID-19 Requirements – find them here – or they will have to stop operations. Keeping the people who bring food to our table safe during a pandemic is paramount, and I commend Governor Inslee for taking this great step towards keeping so many of our brothers and sisters safe.

Our work is not done, and I will continue to ensure that our farmworkers and agriculture industry get what they need to stay safe and continue working. Whether it be housing, sanitation, PPE, or something else entirely, I am here to help and will continue working on their behalf.

Endorsement Shout Outs!

I cannot express how deeply grateful I am to have so many fantastic people and organizations endorse my first re-election campaign. It means so much that you place your faith in me, and that you put your support behind my campaign. I work every day to make you proud and help this place we all call home.

Thank you to the Environment and Climate Caucus of the Washington State Democratic Party for endorsing my re-election campaign! We must protect our environment and ecosystems for generations to come, and I am proud of all the work we have done so far!

Thank you to the Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund for the endorsement, and for all the great work you do supporting our neighbors and families. Thank you to IAM District 751 for endorsing my re-election campaign! We are all so grateful for the work you do as machinists and aerospace workers in Washington State, and I am proud to be side by side with you in supporting our workers and their families. 

Finally, a huge thank you to IAFF Local 106 firefighters union for your endorsement. Your hard work and preparation keeps so many safe, and I am grateful to have you with me on this campaign, and with all of us here in the 40th LD. 

Trivia Answer!

The largest building in the world by volume is Boeing’s final assembly plant! The Everett Production Facility covers 472 million cubic feet of space – over 98 acres!