Dear Friends, 


Let me extend my deepest gratitude to the youth, families, grandparents, essential workers, farm workers, public safety and emergency workers, care givers, hospital workers, teachers, local government, and our Governor for dedicating their lives to protecting the safety of our community. 

My heart aches for the thousands lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the doctors and nurses who worked countless hours, put their lives and their families lives on the line to save others, and for the grandparents and grandchildren who lost so many hugs and celebrations, and to my own daughter, who lost her junior year’s education, and time with friends and sports. 

We have all lost too much time; but now we must support one another, heal our communities, rebuild our businesses and industry and invest in our education, health care and protecting essential workers.  Let us learn from this crisis and put our lives back together as one Washington.

It has been a long 18 months for our children, families and communities, and on June 30th we opened up Washington State for business. Let us invest in our small businesses, restaurants, music venues and farmers markets. We are not out of the woods; and let us remind those around us to get their vaccination as soon as possible; and let us together keep Washington State open for Business!

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Weekly Trivia! 

The Seattle Kraken recently hired a head coach for their upcoming inaugural season in the National Hockey League – who did they hire?

Washington Is Open and Here Are The Guidelines 

The Governor’s office recently released great guidelines for reopening, including info on how to stay healthy, how to navigate through the reopening process, and what we can all do in order to ensure we won’t have to close again.

Washington state has reopened under the Washington Ready plan. All industry sectors previously covered by the Roadmap to Recovery or the Safe Start plan (with limited exceptions) may return to usual capacity and operations.

Check out all of the guidelines here.

While this is a tremendous achievement for our state, it’s important that we do not let our guard down. If you’re feeling sick, you should still stay home! If you’re not fully vaccinated, you should continue wearing a mask. While we have done a great job in the past year, we still must be vigilant to make sure that COVID-19 stays behind us.

Here in the 40th LD we’ve done a great job of getting vaccinated and protecting ourselves, and I’m proud to report the following numbers for our counties right here at home:

The most effective way that you can combat COVID-19 is to get vaccinated if you haven’t yet, and to encourage those around you to get vaccinated if you have. Our vaccination rates continue to grow and grow, and I’m optimistic for a future where COVID is an afterthought.

Celebrating July Fourth!

On this day of celebrating freedom, I take this time to thank our veterans and members of the military.  I am honored to stand with US Navy veteran Dan Worra, Executive Director of the Port of Anacortes.

For over 15 years I have had the pleasure of working with Tulalip Board of Directors Member Mel Sheldon, a veteran of the US Marine Corp.  I am honored to serve our veterans and their families who dedicated their live to ensuring our freedom. 

We’ve come so far in the past year, and we continue to move forward in building the Washington and America that we all want to see. It is an honor serving as your representative in Olympia, and I’m proud of the great things that we’ve accomplished.

New Small Business Flex Fund 

As we move forward and reopen in Washington State, it’s important that we continue to support our small businesses across the state. We should all be proud of what we’ve done to lift up our neighbors, our friends, and our family over the past year and we must see that through until the COVID-19 pandemic is fully behind us.

With that in mind I am proud to report that small business owners and nonprofits in Washington can start applying for low interest loans of up to $150,000 through the newly launched Small Business Flex Fund.

The Fund is a public-private partnership aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits – particularly those in low-income communities – recover and grow as communities across the state reopen for business.

This is an incredible opportunity for businesses that need a little help getting back on their feet as we all get back into the swing of things – if you want more information about the Fund, click here.

Supporting Our Farm Workers During This Heat Wave

As Washington continues to experience record breaking heat, my thoughts are with our food and farm workers that continue to pick and transport the food that we all put on our table.

While many of our businesses, industries and labor workers closed businesses to protect their workers, there was one industry that remained open and that was our agricultural community. 

I join the thousands of migrant workers and United Farm Workers Union and Community to Community Organization who call upon the Governor to declare an emergency to ensure we provide fair treatment and protection of farmer workers in extreme heat conditions. 

Rep. Lekanoff with Rosalinda Guillen from Community 2 Community

I want to share a quick quote from a recent Modern Farmer article that lays out the struggle that many of our farmworkers face:

“Although it’s too early to know what the impact of the heat dome will be on the Northwest’s cherry crop, we’ve already seen the toll it’s taken on farmworkers. Labor advocates such as United Farm Workers are calling on Washington Governor Jay Inslee to install emergency protections and to extend current regulations.

The health and safety rules governing outdoor heat exposure state that employers have to encourage their employees to drink enough water, and provide them time to do so, but that the employer does not have to provide that water for them. It also notes that, ultimately, employees have their own “personal factors for heat-related illness.” The regulations are also seasonal, in place only from May through September. Groups such as the UFW are pushing for stronger protections for workers that include mandated shade and rest breaks, hoping to prevent the recent farmworker death in Oregon from becoming a regular occurrence.”

Our farmworkers here in Washington State is so vitally important. They do the hard work that ensures all of us have food on our table every single day. I stand with our food and farm workers, and will continue to work tirelessly to improve their working conditions.

TweetChat With Emilys List! 

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in a live tweet chat with Emilys List as one of their nominees for the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. It was an honor to be nominated alongside such fierce, powerhouse female legislators from across the country, and it is wonderful to stay connected with those wonderful women!

You can find all my answers on my Twitter account, and I wanted to share them with you here as well. Thank you so much to Emilys List, and to all the other wonderful nominees!

How did you get your start in politics?

Seeing President Obama get elected in 2008 inspired me to get involved in politics. I wanted every Native child to see someone who looked like them in their government – and I’m so proud of all the great Native candidates who have won in recent years!

Tell us what you’ve been up to since you were nominated for the EMILY’s List Gabrielle

Giffords Rising Star Award?

I’ve been working hard on passing legislation banning the use of Native mascots in my state, protecting our incredible ecosystems, and supporting the new taskforce addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

It’s been an interesting year, with Republicans in state legislatures trying to pass hundreds of anti-choice restrictions. How are things going in your state?

Washington State continues to strongly support a woman’s right to choose, and I am proud to be a part of a legislature that works diligently to make sure that women have access to all the healthcare resources that they need

What would you say to people who want to oppose anti-choice legislation in their respective states?

Make sure your voice is heard! Call your representatives at all levels of government, find local rallies to speak out, or donate to groups like Emilys List that do important work across the country!

What advice would you give to women who want to run for office?

Get involved however you can – whether it’s running for Congress or your local school board, we need you and your voice and your passion. Build your platform, bring people to your #KitchenTable, find your wingspan, and file to run!

Joint Water Supply Task Force Update

On Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Task Force on Water Supply held a meeting to hear presentations on two important topics, as well as provide an opportunity for discussion within the task force, and from the public as well.

Serving on this task force is something that I take extremely seriously, and I want to thank those who provided our two presentations this week – both were incredibly helpful and informative!

The first was on the Independent Peer Review of the Estuary Study Portion of the 1999 Duke Engineering Report, which focused on instream flow studies of the Lower Skagit River. This report came from the Washington State Academy of Sciences, who continue to do incredible and important work supporting Washington’s ecosystems and environment and ensuring that we all have the information we need to make informed decisions about our waterways here in Washington State.

The beautiful Skagit river!

The second presentation focused on the current draft Skagit Basin supply and demand synthesis, which was developed with the dual objectives of providing an accessible and information-rich resource about water supply and demand in the Skagit River basin, and to identify current gaps in knowledge to support effective water management in a changing environment.

Ensuring that we take care of our waterways and water sources in the 40th LD, Washington State, and across the country is something that we must take seriously today. Moving right now to preserve and protect these vital sources of life will only help us in the future. I will always work to ensure that what we sow today can be reaped by our grandchildren’s grandchildren, and all those who come after.

If you want more information about the presentations, check out all of those resources here, and if you want to watch the hearing click here.

Celebrating Washington Passport Network Graduates!

Last week it was my honor to join the virtual graduation ceremony and celebration for students that took part in the College Success Foundation’s Washington Passport Network. I truly love hearing from our youth and our students and seeing their smiling faces as they graduated made my week!

The Washington Passport Network is a statewide collective impact initiative committed to supporting students from foster care and the adult professionals they rely on. They do tremendous work supporting our children that need it most, helping ensure they have access to the resources that they need for their education.

It was truly a pleasure speaking with everyone, and I left feeling stronger about my commitment to community. It’s so important that we all find and build and nurture support systems that give us what we need to grow and thrive. I’m thrilled that all our new graduates have a strong foundation within the Passport community. I can’t wait to see what you all do next!

If you want to learn more about the Washington Passport Network, click here.

Speaker Jinkins Visits the 40th LD 

Earlier this week we were so lucky in the 40th LD to welcome Speaker of the Washington State House of Representatives Laurie Jinkins from the 27th LD. Laurie has been an inspiration and an incredible resource during my years in Olympia, and I’m always thrilled when I get to work alongside her on important legislation.

Speaker Jinkins has long been a strong advocate for the people of Washington, and she has led the way for years in so many areas – childcare, supporting our public health systems, promoting equitable access to housing, and so much more!

Thank you for visiting us this week, Speaker Jinkins, and thank you for helping to lead the way forward for a Washington that we can all be proud of! It’s an honor to work alongside the first woman Speaker, and I’m looking forward to collaborating in the future.

Trivia & Word of the Week!

The Seattle Kraken hired Dave Hakstol as their first head coach! He previously served as the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, and most recently was an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tlingit Word of the Week: Gunałchéesh – Thank you

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