Dear Friends, 

It’s been more than four months since Governor Inslee announced the “Stay Safe, Stay Healthy” order designed to keep Washingtonians safe and curb the spread of COVID-19. Since then, cases have risen from 2,000 to more than 50,000, and statewide deaths have risen from 110 to nearly 1,500 people.

With the continued rise in COVID-19 case rates, the Governor announced a number of updates to the guidance and regulations that are currently in place for restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. For weddings and funerals, ceremonies will remain permitted, but receptions are prohibited.

For restaurants and bars, the updated regulations are as follows:

  • Indoor dining limited to household members;
  • Alcohol Sales Must End At 10 P.M.;
  • Table Size Reduced to five People and Total Occupancy to 50% in Phase 3;
  • Game Areas Must Close; and
  • Bars Will Close Indoor Service.

We should all be grateful for the continued work and dedication of Governor Inslee and his administration. These decisions are difficult, but necessary, and we must continue to do everything in our power to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This is a constantly shifting and evolving situation, and as new updates come through my team and I are keeping my website updated with the newest information for the 40th LD, and for Washington State.

Check back for new updates here.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy” 
Rep. Debra Lekanoff


Honoring Representative John Lewis 


Last week we lost an incredible man, a dedicated civil servant, and a passionate warrior for civil liberties and equal rights. On Saturday morning we woke up to the news that Representative John Lewis had passed away at the age of 80. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones as we all mourn his passing.

For over three decades John Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, never wavering in his beliefs and always fighting to bring justice and equality to Americans everywhere. Long before that, Representative Lewis worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others to fight for civil rights. He helped lead the way in using nonviolence to create the “good trouble” that brings about change, and his work helped to end Jim Crow laws across the south, bring voting rights to countless disenfranchised individuals, and so much more.



It is because of people like Representative Lewis that we see the movements happening across the country today. He was beaten, arrested, accosted, and ridiculed, but each time he was knocked down he stood back up and continued moving forward. It’s the work of great people like him that makes sure we as people of color have our issues heard, and he showed us the path to creating the change we want to see.

While he represented his district in Georgia, Representative Lewis stood for disadvantaged people everywhere, and I am so grateful for his relentless pursuit of justice. He is an inspiration to countless people across the country and around the world. We’ll miss you, Representative Lewis. Thank you for all that you did.



Representative Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders, challenging the non-enforcement of a Supreme Court decision that said segregated buses were unconstitutional – what were the starting point and destination of the first ride in 1961?


Ballots Are Out! 

Voting has begun for our Primary Election! Please make sure you get your ballots in by August 4th. Washington State mailed out Primary ballots to voters last week, and it’s likely that you have yours already. I was excited to cast my own ballot the other day, and I hope you do the same soon!

Historically, fewer people vote in Primary Elections, so it’s incredibly important that you make sure your voice is heard. Ballots must be mailed or dropped into a county election drop box by August 4th, and I hope you will all cast your votes and help shape our General Election in November.


Salish SeaFresh! 

We are so lucky here in the 40th LD to see and experience our incredible Salish Sea. It has always been a priority of mine to fight for this natural beauty, and to do whatever I can to protect all of the wildlife that call this place home.

The Northwest Straits Foundation hosts the Salish SeaFresh show on YouTube, taking time to look into restoration and conservation efforts right here in the Salish Sea. In the most recent episode, they talk to marine biologists about oyster restoration, visit the oyster beds in Fidalgo Bay, and talk to my good friends at Taylor Shellfish about Salish Sea restoration.

Thank you to the Northwest Straits Foundation for all the work that you do! I am so grateful to have an organization like them working right here in Washington to help protect this beautiful place we call home.

Check out their most recent episode of Salish SeaFresh here.



Washington’s Football Team 

As we move forward in the recognition of our diverse communities of color we are seeing a moment in history as the Washington Football Team removes a racial slur from our National stage.

This is a great step in the right direction, and comes from the hard work of countless people over the last half century. While the team hasn’t yet announced their new name, and will go by “Washington Football Team” for the foreseeable future, it is my hope that the table is set for many voices to come together and find a fitting name.

This is a step toward progress, and we look forward to examining this movement and addressing the use of Native imagery as sports mascots closely in the state legislature alongside Governor Inslee right here at home in Washington.


Safely Opening Up Our Schools 

As we all continue to do our part protecting one another and preventing further spread of COVID-19, the pressing question at the front of our minds is if our schools will open up in the fall. We all want to see our children back in class, spending time with their friends, playing the sports they love, and growing as individuals, but we must place their safety, and the safety of our communities, above everything else.

My fellow legislators, community members, superintendents, and I have been maintaining a strong dialogue about how we can best open our schools this fall. We’ve hosted several roundtables, and I’m continuing to work in my capacity on the Legislative Education Task Force with Chairwoman Sharon Santos, Vice Chairs Dave Paul and Laurie Dolan, and so many of my other colleagues from both sides of the aisle in the people’s house.

I’m also eternally grateful for the work and guidance of Majority Floor Leader Monica Stonier, from the 49th LD. Monica is not only a Representative beside me in the legislature, but she also serves on the education committee and has been a union teacher for over two decades. She has been a strong voice throughout this process, and continues to help us find the best path forward.

It will be difficult to create an environment in which our children and teachers can stay safe and healthy, but I am confident that with all of the experience we have working towards this common goal, we will find the right solution for the 40th LD, and all of Washington State.


Don’t Forget To Fill Out The Census!

We’re now more than halfway through 2020, and the U.S. Census remains ongoing! It’s so important that all of us are counted this year, and if you haven’t already you can head over to the Census 2020 website and make sure you and your family are counted.

The Census isn’t just about getting an accurate count of the people in our country – that number goes on to inform how many Congressional Representatives each state gets, how funding is distributed across the country, and so much more.

It only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact. Make sure your voice is heard, and that you are counted.

Sharon Shemake For The 42nd LD!

It has been such a pleasure serving in the State Legislature beside Representative Sharon Shewmake these past two years. As a fellow mother and first-term Representative, she has been a strong and steady voice on supporting legislation that helps Washingtonians and makes peoples lives better.


Sharon is a tremendous advocate for her constituents, and I am proud to endorse her re-election campaign! Together we will continue to work on building long-term, steady economic growth that keeps our ecosystems and environments in mind, while doing everything we can to help all who call this place home.


Endorsement Shout-Outs!

Thank you to the American Federation of Teachers for endorsing my re-election campaign! Your support means so much to me, and I am dedicated to ensuring our teachers and students remain safe and healthy. 

The National Women’s Political Caucus has long provided 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 for endorsing my re-election campaign!


Thank you to Laurel Ballew, Charles Adkins, and Eva Ingram for endorsing my campaign! 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.

I also want to thank Whatcom County Councilmember Barry Buchanan, Bellingham City Councilmember Hollie Huthman, and Bellingham Schoolboardmember Camille Hackler for endorsing my campaign! I’m so grateful for your support and proud that we have people like you working right here in the 40th LD.


Trivia Answer! 

Between May 4th and May 17th 1961, the first freedom ride went from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, and back.