Last week we talked about Governor Inslee’s statewide mandatory face covering order, requiring every Washingtonian to wear a facial covering when they are out in a public space, either indoor or outdoor. Governor Inslee recently made a new proclamation extending the face covering order, adding additional requirements.
Wearing facial coverings is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and it is something we should all happily do to help protect our loved ones and our neighbors. Under the Governor’s new proclamation, businesses may not serve a customer if the customer is not wearing a mask.
This is an important step that we can all take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Case rates are rising across the state, and that includes here in the 40th. As a result, Governor Inslee has also ordered a pause on advancing counties from their current phase under his “Safe Start” reopening program.
It’s up to all of us to do our part to help our communities through this pandemic. Governor Inslee has done a great job helping Washington in this trying time, and just a few days ago he announced that the state has distributed nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts
This funding has gone to those who need it most, those who have been hit hardest by COVID-19 and need our support now more than ever. It includes:
- $100 million to provide rent assistance to low-income renters at risk of homelessness, using an existing framework to send rent payments directly to landlords.
- $20 million to provide grants to help small businesses, support for local economic development organizations providing assistance to businesses, and support for data-driven recovery plans by region and industry.
- $20 million to provide operating grants to support nonprofits working to address disparities and inequities exacerbated by increased need and decreased funding due to COVID-19, including a variety of community and youth development programs.
- $20 million to assist Tribes with their pandemic recovery related efforts.
My team and I are always actively tracking COVID-19 developments for the 40th LD on my website – check it out here.
This is a difficult time for so many of us, and it will take self-sacrifice and dedication from all of us to beat COVID-19. I’m confident in the 40th LD, and I’m always honored to be your representative in Olympia. Thank you for all that you’ve done so far to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Washington State is home to one of the highest concentration of bald eagles in the contiguous United States — where in Washington is it located?
Celebrating the Fourth of July
I wanted to take a moment and wish you all a Happy Fourth of July. Right now we are moving through an unprecedented time in history. From coast-to-coast we’re seeing an overdue examination of our history, and we’re watching as long oppressed groups are standing up and demanding their voices be heard.
As we celebrate America’s Independence Day we need to take a step back and ask the important question – what kind of America do we want to see? We have the incredible opportunity in front of us not just to answer that question, but to make our answer a reality. Together we can shape the future that we want to see for ourselves, and more importantly for our children.
This all has to start in our communities – neighbor-to-neighbor, sitting down at kitchen tables and coming together to share ideas and goals. I wish we could come together at a real kitchen table, but virtual ones will work just as well.
I will always spread my wingspan wide to bring everyone together, whether that’s over zoom or a cup of coffee, and together is exactly how we must move forward, through 2020 and beyond.
This Fourth of July is unlike any other, and the stage is set for us to create the America that we want to see. I’m proud to represent the 40th in Olympia, and I’m honored to work with so many amazing people on building a better 40th, a better Washington, and a better world.
Happy Fourth of July everyone – stay safe, and stay healthy.
Lifting Up Underrepresented Communities
Each day I hear the growing calls for government at all levels to address systemic inequalities and racism. This is happening across the country, and as your representative in the 40th LD it is my honor and my responsibility to do everything in my power to address these concerns, root out the base causes of these inequalities, and work to remove them from our district, our state, and our country.
Recently, our House Speaker Laurie Jinkins from the 27th LD directed the House Democratic Caucus to create an Equality Task Force that is focused on bringing together all underserved and underrepresented communities. Together, the task force and these communities will address how to engage on legislative matters that can impact all Washingtonians and lift up those who have been long overlooked.
Many democratic legislators and I have been working closely, engaging in this dialogue and working to inform the rest of the caucus on how we can remove barriers and provide opportunities to our underrepresented citizens in Washington.
I want to specifically thank Representative Melanie Morgan form the 29th LD for leading the charge. Melanie has been a champion for identifying how our legislature can grow to fully represent all of the people in Washington. As a fellow freshman legislator, I am so grateful to have her next to me as we work to address these vital issues.
We Are Puget Sound
Last Thursday I was honored to attend the most recent We Are Puget Sound virtual event. It was a great opportunity to share my updates on how we are working to protect our environment. It was wonderful to hear from Mindy Roberts from the Washington Environmental Council, Amy Windrope, Deputy Director of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Service, and Nora Nickum, Ocean Policy Manager at the Seattle Aquarium.
Protecting our marine ecosystems and environment has always been something close to my heart. Over my two years as your representative, and for long before that throughout my life, I have been dedicated to helping salmon recovery and protecting our resident orcas.
We have such incredible wildlife here in Washington State, and seeing our streams teem with fish and our waters graced with orcas brings me incredible joy. I was so happy after the event last week, my spirits lifted by the passionate voices of people who truly love this place we all call home.
You can watch the whole event on YouTube here. I look forward to participating in future events, and I’m excited to work side-by-side with so many incredible people as we move forward in protecting our natural beauty.
Events With Debra!
Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with some of my good friends over at LiUNA, Local 292 for a Thirsty Thursday event! It was so great to sit down and talk to you all about your priorities, what we can do to support our laborers, and how we can help one another through this unprecedented time.
I am so grateful for the support Laborers Local 292 has given me, and I am proud to have earned their endorsement. Local 292 has supported communities in these trying times, and we must support our brothers and sisters in labor as we plan for our future.
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.
Our new date for this Tele-Tuesday is July 14 at 3PM! I’ll be sitting down to discuss education with local experts, leaders, and all of you!
So bring your questions and we’ll “see” you on Facebook Live!
Thank You to Our Superintendents
Here in the 40th LD we’ve been lucky to have so many great and passionate individuals working in our education system. Those who dedicate their lives to educating our children, to helping shape the generations that follow our own, deserve so much of our thanks and respect.
A few of our superintendents are moving on, either retiring or pursuing other opportunities outside of the public sector. I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt thanks to each of them – thank you to Anacortes Superintendent Mark Wenzel, Mount Vernon Superintendent Carl Bruner, La Conner Superintendent Whitney Meissner, and San Juan Superintendent Kari McVeigh.
My deep thanks to each of you, and I wish you the best in your future endeavors!
Helping Our Food Workers
We’re now more than 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we have moved forward with reopening through the “Safe Start” program there are countless of our brothers and sisters on the frontlines putting themselves at risk to keep our communities running – our farm and food workers included.
While they are out in the fields, in the supply chain, or in our grocery stores these individuals show up to work every day so that we can all put food on our table. They do important work to keep our children fed, and that is why I am dedicated to doing everything I can to protect our farm and food workers.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced last week that thus far 238 members have passed as a result of COVID-19, and nearly 29,000 workers have been infected or exposed. My heart goes out to families who have lost a loved one, and I am more motivated than ever to fight on behalf of those who help grow and supply our food.
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.
We know that this is not enough, and we know that work must continue on supplying these vital resources to our food and farm workers. I am so grateful for all of the work that they do, and I promise to do my part in helping keep them safe and healthy.
Heather Perkins for Skagit County Superior Court
The Judicial system is a vital part of our government, and these local officials can do so much to impact positive change in our communities. Now more than ever, as we face public safety and service reform, we need to invest in those who will serve with integrity and balance.
With that said, I am proud to endorse Heather ShandPerkins for Skagit County Superior Court, for position 3. Helen is a hometown Skagitian who has returned home to serve her community. She will do a fantastic job sitting on our county’s highest court, as she has always been driven by justice and equality. She will bring a strong voice to Skagit County’s Superior Court, and I look forward to her time on the bench.
I also want to send my appreciation to David Svaren for his years in service in holding position
Davey Whitener Jr. for Squaxin Tribal Council
Davey Whitener Jr. has always been available to advise and assist my legislative office. I am so grateful for his years of friendship and advice, and I am proud to endorse him for Squaxin Tribal Council.
I appreciate his expertise and wisdom as we work together to pass state laws that respect treaty rights and honor co-management of resources.
We share the goal of sustainable growth that improves the environment, and I am excited for his continued work in the ears head.
Debra with Council Member Davey Whitener Jr.
I’d also like to shout out a few organizations that have endorsed my campaign! Thank you to the National Women’s Political Caucus for providing resources and support to female candidates across the country, ensuring that women have a seat at the table and a voice in vital conversations.
Thank you to the San Juan County Democrats for endorsing my re-election campaign! You are a consistent voice for the San Juan Islands, the 40th LD, and Washington State. I look forward to working together in 2021 and beyond
And finally, thank you to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 191 for endorsing my campaign, and for all the work you do on behalf of our electric workers here in the 40th and Washington State!
Individual endorsements are an incredibly important part of my campaign. You can put your name next to mine and support my re-election by heading over to my website and filling out this form. These endorsements mean so much to me – they show that this is a campaign focused on people, and I would be honored to have your name added along with mine.
Thank you to Martha Kongsgaard and Stephanie Solien for endorsing and supporting me in my first re-election campaign. Your support means the world to me, and I’m so grateful that you’ll be joining me for a fundraiser nexy friday along with Taylor Shellfish!
Debra with Martha Kongsgaard
Debra with Bill Dewey and Bill Taylor from Taylor Shellfish
The highest concentration of bald eagles in the continental United States is in the San Juan Islands! There are more than 125 nesting pairs on the islands.