Dear Friends, 

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Week!

This week is important for me and so many others, and I want to take the time to thank the Washington Tribal leaders, elders, and community members for taking care of me, and for taking care of my daughter, Emma. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Please take a few minutes and watch my video below for the full statement. 

House Bill 2551 was passed in the house, 95 -1 in the  019-2020 Legislative Session. The Bill honors the sovereign nations and acknowledges the right for native students of federally recognized tribes to wear regalia and other objects of cultural importance to ceremonies such as graduations. Every Indigenous student deserves the right to wear their regalia, to honor their ancestors and cultural values.

I want to honor Patsy Whitefoot, Yakama Nation member, for her dedication to tribal sovereignty and for showing up to support my work on the regalia bill.  We had many tribal leaders, members, and students testify on the bill, and we thank them all for their leadership.

  

I also raise my hands to Muckleshoot Governmental Affairs Director Claudia Kauffman and her daughter for testifying, along with Lummi Chairman Lawrence Solomon and his students for sharing unwavering support as this bill was making its way through the Legislature. We were able to educate our Legislature, and raise the sovereign relationship between Washington State and Tribes to pass this law together. 

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff


Trivia!

When is the latest day that you can send in your ballot for the 2020 election?


Get Out The Vote!

I want to raise my hands and thank the Honorable Senator John McCoy for clearing the pathway for the next generation of Native leaders in Washington – not just in the State Legislature, but in the federal delegation as well. It was an honor to serve the people alongside Senator McCoy, and to watch and participate in history when we passed The Native American Voting Rights Act in 2019.

We removed barriers so more Native Americans could easily vote by allowing them to register online with their Tribal Registration Cards, designating Tribal Buildings as the address they use for voter registration, and requesting voter support and drop boxes within those buildings, we expanded democracy for everyone. 

This year it is more important than ever that we get out the vote and make our voices heard. Ballots have been sent out across Washington State, and you should be getting yours in the mail soon if you are a registered voter – be sure to fill it out and return it either through the mail or at a ballot drop box as soon as possible!

For more information about how important it is that we all cast our votes this year – and the deadlines for doing so – check out the great video from Rosalinda at Community to Community below!

I am also  participating in a number of great events to get out the vote for our wonderful candidates around the state in the upcoming weeks, I hope you’ll join me at some or all of them! 

Safety is at the top of all of our minds as we continue to fight the pandemic, so I will be kicking off phone banks for a couple of our 40th LD local candidates next weekend! Local officials’ relationships with the tribal, state, and federal levels of government are incredibly important, especially as we work together to rebuild and recover from COVID-19. 

  • Cindy Wolf for San Juan County Council
    Saturday, October 24 from 9:30 am -12:00 pm
    RSVP to cindywolf2020@gmail.com or sign up on the Facebook Event!
  • Christine Grant for Whatcom Public Utilities District Commissioner
    Sunday, October 25 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm
    RSVP by registering here!

And of course, please check out the fearless Sharon Shewmake’s website to find opportunities to volunteer and support her campaign. Sharon is a leader on business recovery in the Legislature, focusing our recovery on rural counties like Whatcom and Skagit. This means funding for forest health, roads and bridges, high-speed internet, bringing good jobs and prosperity to all of Washington. We need to re-elect her so she and I can continue working for all of you! 

The Washington State Democrats are hosting two phone banks per day from now through the election, and you can sign up for multiple shifts on their website. This is a great way to (virtually) meet new people and reach out to get our Democrats elected all the way down the ballot!


Staying Safe on Halloween!

October is here, and Halloween is officially around the corner! The holiday will look different this year, and the state issued guidance with tips for staying safe and ideas for trick-or-treating alternatives.

What will you do instead of trick-or-treating?


Rep. Lekanoff and her daughter Emma


Debra’s Events!

Empowher Event

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment – which guaranteed women the right to vote – Heritage University brought together a panel of women leaders from across the state for a virtual event to educate and inspire women in our community.

It was such a tremendous opportunity to speak alongside such incredible women on this important issue. Thank you to everyone who joined alongside me, and a special thank you to Regina Malveaux Director of the Washington State Women’s Commission, for leading the discussion!

Be on the lookout for a full video from the event soon!

Protecting the Salish Sea

Earlier this week, I was thrilled to join a wonderful panel of fellow legislators, scientists, activists, and more to virtually discuss how we can best help the Salish Sea, and what steps we can, and must, take in order to ensure its natural beauty and ecosystems are around for seven generations to come.

Protecting the Salish Sea is very close to my heart, and it’s something that remains a top priority of mine. This natural beauty is home to countless creatures, and deserves our love and respect. Thank you to everyone who participated and joined this wonderful event!

Bellingham Women’s March

I will be speaking at the Bellingham Women’s March on Saturday, October 17 to honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and women everywhere. We will be masked up and socially distanced, please grab your mask and join us at Bellingham City Hall!

Supporting Helen Price Johnson

I am excited to invite you to an event to support my campaign and 10th District State Senate candidate Helen Price Johnson! We will also be joined by special guest Attorney General Bob Ferguson! 

As an Island County Commissioner and member of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, Helen has always prioritized protecting our environment and natural resources. 

Tuesday, Oct 20th from 5:30-6:10

RSVP by emailing madison@bobmanconsulting.com


White House Tribal Nations Conference

For eight years, President Obama and his Administration held an annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, where federally recognized tribes from around the country visited the White House and discussed key issues facing Indian Country with President Obama’s full cabinet. These events were incredibly important to indigenous people everywhere, because we finally saw the President coming forward to hear about and address the issues and concerns of Indian Country. 

In 2016, our current administration ended this eight-year tradition of hosting the Tribal Nations Conference. The current administration has ignored tribal leaders’ requests to reinstate the Conference, so for the past four years we have been denied a seat at the President’s table.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris released their Plan for Tribal Nations last Thursday, in which they promise to immediately restart the Tribal Nations Conference and again respect tribal sovereignty.

The plan states, “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are committed to upholding the U.S.’s trust responsibility to tribal nations, strengthening the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the United States and Indian tribes, and working to empower tribal nations to govern their own communities and make their own decisions.”

This article from Native News Online provides more details on the Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations. 


Protecting Our Environment

This week I had the chance to sit down with members of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) to discuss a potential Green Amendment for Washington State. This is something that I have been working on for some time, and it would be a tremendous step towards strong protections for our environment.

A Green Amendment would be a constitutional environmental rights amendment added to the Bill of Rights section of the state constitution that would recognize the rights of all people in the state to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments. 

This is something that I look forward to working on moving forward, and together we will have a number of discussions surrounding the best path to take in protecting our environment. Ensuring that all Washingtonians have rights to clean water, air, and a healthy environment is a surefire way to protect this place we all call home for seven generations to come.


Northern Arapaho TikTok Star!

On September 25, Nathan Apodaca uploaded a video to TikTok of himself leisurely skateboarding as he drinks from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry juice, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” plays in the background.

Apodaca comes from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and his simple video has been seen by millions of people – and counting! Countless celebrities have recreated the video, and Ocean Spray even sent him a truck loaded with crates of juice!

His video is a beautiful respite from so much chaos in the world right now, and I’m always excited to see the new things he’s creating! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out his page.


Endorsement Shoutouts!

Re-Elect Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee has been a longtime champion for the people of Washington State.

From his years in congress to his years as Governor, he has help build and support a strong economy, healthy environment, and created a safe place for all Washingtonians.

He has shown tremendous leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to help us set a national precedent that reflects who Washingtonians are – the first to lead the people in the nation on difficult issues and situations.

I am proud to work alongside him in Olympia, and I am thrilled to endorse his re-election campaign! To learn more about his campaign, click here.

Beth Doglio For Congress

Representative Beth Doglio has built a relationship with the first people of Washington state, and has with them on protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and creating a strong economy for all.

Beth believes in the way of life that making decisions for 7 generations to come is vital to the sustainability of Washington values. She has served the 22nd LD well, and will make an incredible member of Congress for the 10th Congressional District!

I am proud to endorse her campaign, and if you want to learn more, click here.

Re-Elect Drew Hansen

Representative Drew Hansen is a warrior who fights for the judicial system to be incorporated into policy and laws that reflect Washington values. His commitment to workforce development through education, financing students, and making sure every Washingtonian has a pathway to be a part of the workforce.

He has been an incredible ally in Olympia, and I’m excited to work with him in the future. Drew stands for the protection of communities, education for all, and fairness that everybody be treated with respect and honor and equality.

I’m happy to endorse him, and if you want to learn more about his campaign click here.


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.


Trivia Answer! 

As long as your ballot is post marked by election day, November 3rd, you’re good to go! You can also drop your ballot off in person by November 3rd as well.


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