This coming Tuesday, August 3, we are voting in an important primary election. Ballots were mailed out a few weeks ago, and you are able to fill them out and return them as soon as they arrive.
Voting is one of the most important things we can do to express ourselves and make sure our voices are heard. These elections will set up incredibly important races for this fall for positions that will impact us all directly. Local elections are incredibly important, and I would urge everyone to cast their vote.
I happily cast my ballot earlier this week!
If you have not received your ballot yet or need more information about registration or what is on your ballot, head over to voter.votewa.gov for all the information that you need.
There are so many tremendous candidates running for office this year, and it truly warms my heart to see passionate and dedicated people stand up to work for their communities. There is no limit to what we can accomplish together, and I truly hope you will make your voice heard during this primary election.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
How many islands make up the San Juan Islands?
Primary Election Endorsements!
While there are a great many strong candidates on the ballot this Tuesday, I want to take a moment to highlight and endorse a handful of dedicated civil servants that I know will always do what’s best for the 40th LD.
Kaylee Galloway for Whatcom County Council District 1:
Kaylee will be a tremendous addition to the Whatcom County Council. She has tremendous experience across all levels of government, and understand that government must work for all people. She will be an effective leader, policy maker, and community advocate.
Representative Lekanoff with Kaylee Galloway!
Learn more about Kaylee’s campaign here.
Rebecca Lewis for Whatcom County Council District 3:
Rebecca has long worked on behalf of the people of Whatcom County, and for our students. She has served on a number of education associations, always working to ensure that every child and student has opportunities to grow and thrive. Rebecca will be a fantastic addition to the Whatcom County Council, and I look forward to working with her in the future!
Learn more about her campaign here.
Barry Buchanan for Whatcom County Council At-Large:
Barry has served on the Whatcom County Council for two terms now, and is the current Chair of the Council as well. He has long served our communities well, placing a high priority on the health and safety of Whatcom County. It has been a pleasure working alongside him, and I know we will accomplish great things together in the future!
Representative Lekanoff with Councilmember Buchanan!
Learn more about Barry’s campaign here.
Mike Shepard for Port of Bellingham District 1:
Mike has done a tremendous job serving the Port of Bellingham, and he understands that we must make investments now to ensure that seven generations to come are able to enjoy this incredible place we all call home. I know he will always put the people of Bellingham first, and I hope he can count on your support!
Learn more about Mike’s campaign here.
Ryan Walters for Mayor of Anacortes:
Serving on the Anacortes City Council since 2011, Ryan has long been champion for the people of the city. He has spearheaded a number of great projects, including the development of a strategic plan for promoting tourism in the city. He is a dedicated public servant who will be a strong Mayor for the people of Anacortes.
Learn more about Ryan’s campaign here.
Enrique Lopez-Cisneros for Sedro-Woolley School Board of Directors:
I am proud to endorse Enrique as he seeks another term on the Sedro-Woolley School Board of Directors. He has done an incredible job putting our students first, and working tirelessly to ensure that all of our children have the opportunities that they deserve.
Learn more about Enrique’s campaign here.
Updated Mask Guidelines
A few days ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their masking guidelines, recommending that individuals wear masks in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission, regardless of their vaccination status.
The updated guidance comes in response to the Delta variant, which accounts for 80% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States. While individuals who are vaccinated are less likely to contract COVID-19 and are less likely to develop severe symptoms if they do, they are still able to spread COVID-19 – and the Delta variant – to those around them.
While Washington state is not instituting a mask mandate, Governor Inslee said earlier this week that we will be following federal guidance, and that fully vaccinated people should consider wearing a mask in public indoor spaces in counties that have substantial or high transmission of COVID-19, which are most of Washington’s counties.
The two most important things that you can do to combat COVID-19 and protect your community are getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. Vaccination protects you from COVID-19, and drastically reduces your symptoms if you do contract the virus. The new Delta variant is more contagious than previous strains, and wearing a mask – even while vaccinated – drastically reduces its ability to spread.
We have come so far amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and we must continue to look out for one another. In order to protect those around us, we should wear masks in indoor public spaces. In order to protect ourselves and prevent future mutations, we should get vaccinated as soon as we are able.
Stay safe and stay healthy – we will continue to get through the pandemic together.
Washington State Women’s Commission Biennial Report
This week the Washington State Women’s Commission published its first biennial report, highlighting the work done by the important commission in its first two years. In the report, the Commission presents recommendations to the legislature and Governor’s Office to address issues of economic security, economic opportunity, safety, health, and racial equity.
Their first report provides an overview of what the Commission has accomplished since its establishment, laying out the following things:
- Introduce Commissioners and Commission staff;
- Outline the critical issues that women in the state of Washington face, including childcare access and affordability, pay inequality, racial disparities in health and healthcare delivery, violence against women, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women;
- Summarize the priorities and past work of each of the Commission subcommittees, in partnership with businesses, professionals, and community organizations across Washington state; and
- Present policy recommendations for consideration by the legislature and executive branch as well as those in the private and non-profit sectors.
You can read the full report here.
The Washington Women’s Commission was established in June 0f 1028 when Governor Inslee signed House Bill 2759 into law. The Governor appointed a diverse group of women leaders from the private sector, public health and healthcare, the justice system, community-based organizations and nonprofits, and labor.
Thank you to all of the wonderful women and staff who work on the commission – your work is helping set us up for success, and will continue to drive us towards an equitable and compassionate Washington that we can all be proud to call home.
Rental Assistance & Relief is Available Now!
As we continue to see our communities and economy recover from the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had, many of our loved ones and neighbors are still feeling the effects. Many people are still working to return to where they were before the pandemic, and there are resources available to help those who need assistance in paying their rent.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the federal government has made billions of dollars in rental assistance are available to renters who are behind on their housing costs. Programs are all run locally, and resources are available across the country – including right here in Washington.
A few days ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a new look up tool that allows renters and landlords to find information on rental assistance in their area. Available resources can help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes.
If you or someone you know is currently having trouble with their rent or housing, please use the CFPB’s tool to get the resources you need. We all deserve a safe, affordable place that we can call home, and I will always work to ensure that good places to live are available to all Washingtonians.
One Fewer Native Mascot!
We have truly made such tremendous progress recently in removing Native mascots and imagery from our sports teams. Not only have several states – including Washington – adopted legislation banning the use of Native stereotypes as mascots, but professional teams are taking note and acting accordingly as well.
Earlier this week, Cleveland’s Baseball Team announced that they will officially be adopting the nickname “The Guardians” following the conclusion of the current season. The process for the team began last year, but there have been calls to change the team’s name for decades.
I’m so happy to see the organization do the right thing, and I hope that this will help to inspire the countless teams and schools that utilize harmful stereotypes as their mascots. We have a long way to go, but we should all be proud of what we have accomplished.
Community Conversation on Salmon Recovery
Washington is home to so many incredible ecosystems, and so much majestic wildlife. Right here in the 40th LD we have streams and rivers that host beautiful populations of salmon – and they need our help.
Tomorrow morning, in Olga on Orcas Island, I’ll be at the Olga Community Park to meet with Doe Bay and Olga community members, the Environmental Action Team members for the Orcas Women’s Coalition, and local leaders. We’ll discuss the ongoing salmon preservation efforts, listen to feedback and suggestions, and come together to appreciate the fantastic Coho Preserve Trail.
In all our work we must consider the impacts we will have on the natural world, and I will always strongly advocate for protecting our salmon populations. We must do everything that we can to ensure that our natural splendor can be enjoyed by our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
Trivia & Word of the Week!
There are 172 names islands and reefs in San Juan County, but at low tide there are up to 450 islands that make up the San Juans!
For our word of the week, check out this great video to learn some loving phrases from SeaAlaska Heritage!