Dear Friends, 

As we continue through this historic summer, doing everything we can to stay cool and hydrated, it’s incredibly important that we all do our part to protect the beautiful, natural world that surrounds us.

With that in mind, Governor Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency this week, addressing the growing risk of wildfires, and instituting a statewide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning through September 30 of this year.

“Washington is facing a historic drought and we have already experienced record-breaking heat. We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent wildfires, and the loss of life and destruction of land and property that comes with them,” Governor Inslee said. “We don’t want a repeat of recent years with dangerous wildfires across the state that have destroyed towns, killed livestock and resulted in weeks of unhealthy air quality. I urge everyone to do their part to help protect our beautiful state and all our communities.”

Although this order includes some burn ban exceptions (for example, the use of gas-fueled stoves in some circumstances and also small, recreational campfires in contained structures on a person’s private property) nothing in the order supersedes more restrictive provisions by a lawful authority, like city or county governments. The proclamation also activates the Washington National Guard to assist in wildfire suppression efforts. 

Read the full proclamation here.

After eighteen months of social distancing and staying inside, I hope everyone can get outside and enjoy our beautiful state this summer! Sitting back and enjoying the magic of mother earth is one of my favorite things to do. The important thing is that we are cautious and responsible during our time outdoors. It falls on all of us to protect our environment and ecosystems for generations to come!  

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Weekly Trivia! 

Last weekend, we celebrated the anniversary of the founding of our country on July 4th, 1776. Washington State, however, wouldn’t join the union for another 113 years – what day do we celebrate Washington’s admission to the Union?

Fourth of July Celebration! 

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of celebrating our nation’s birthday with truly incredible people. I was in Anacortes for their wonderful parade, and I had the opportunity to see and talk to so many wonderful people from right here in the 40th LD!

After so many months doing our part and making sacrifices to keep our loved ones and communities safe from COVID-19, my spirits were lifted so very high seeing all of your smiling faces and hearing your shouts of joy. Thank you to everyone who took part in this wonderful parade, and thank you for all that you have done in the past eighteen months to keep Washington as safe and happy as possible.

It is days like these that bring a smile to my face. We have so far to go to create a country and a Washington that we can all be proud to call home, yet when we look back at all we have accomplished together it is clear that we are on a path towards that goal. I will always work to bring everyone to the table, to discuss ideas and find the common ground we can build upon. This weekend, though, I was happier being outside with all of you than I am at my table!

This is why it is so important that you get vaccinated – protecting yourself against COVID-19 lets us have these gatherings and celebrations just like normal. If you or a loved one have not gotten vaccinated yet, please do! It is the safest and most effective way for you to protect those around you. For information about vaccinations in Washington, click here.

Supporting Our Ferry Workers 

Earlier today, the North Sound Transportation Alliance held a webinar to discuss a number of important things. The heard from a panel of experts on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Passenger Only Ferry Study, from representatives from each port and transit agency and from the jurisdictions at large to provide feedback on what they see as challenges, best approaches to proceed, and suggestions for governance.

They also heard from the Executive Director of Kitsap Transit’s Passenger Ferry Service and learn how the system in operation differs from the original service design, funding realities, and what lessons may be gleaned from their experience.

The San Juan Islands ferry!

I have always been a strong supporter of our ferries here in the 40th LD, both in modernizing our fleet and supporting our incredible staff that mans the ships. Today, I want to give a specific shoutout to the latter – thank you all so much for your consistent and tireless work on Washington’s ferries!

We all owe you a sincere debt of gratitude, particularly this summer as so many of us head to explore all of the wonder our great state has to offer. I will never stop working to ensure that you have the support and funding you need to thrive. Thank you all!

The Legacy of Native Boarding Schools 

Friends, in recent weeks there have been a number of discoveries of unmarked graves at former Native boarding schools in Canada, where generations of Indigenous children were taken from their families in an attempt to assimilate them into Canadian culture.

The discovery of the graves – children and former students at these schools – has prompted widespread criticism of the Canadian government and their role in supporting the institution, and has sparked anew the conversation about addressing the awful legacy of these schools right here in the United States.

Last month, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that the Department of the Interior will be launching the Federal Indian Boarding School initiative to investigate these forced assimilation boarding schools that operated in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries – some as late as the 1980’s.

“At no time in history have the records or documentation of this policy been compiled or analyzed to determine the full scope of its reaches and effects. We must uncover the truth about the loss of human life, and the lasting consequences of the schools,” Secretary Haaland said when she made the announcement.

I fully support this initiative, and we must all acknowledge that before we can begin to heal the countless traumas inflicted by these schools we must understand the full breadth of their impact. Only once we know the widespread effects, and acknowledge the tremendous harm caused by these schools, can a healing process begin.

Daybreak Star Radio Network Launch! 

On this Fantastic Friday, I’ve saved some truly exciting news for last. Starting tomorrow, July 10 at 1 P.M, the Daybreak Star Radio Network will officially go live! Their mission is to provide musical, educational, cultural, and language arts programming that helps to reconnect Indigenous people to their heritage by strengthening their sense of belonging and significance as a people.

The public is invited to celebrate and experience the station themselves with an event at 1:00pm at Sacred Circle Art Gallery Ballard, 5337 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, but everyone can listen live on their website, here!

This is such an incredibly important endeavor, and I commend the entire Daybreak Star Radio team for what they are doing. Providing our Native children with a resource to connect to their heritage is so important, and I am thrilled to tune in tomorrow!

Trivia & Word of the Week!

Washington State was admitted to the Union on November 11, 1889!

For our word of the week, check out this great video to learn how to say thank you in Tlingit (who remembers from last week?), Haida, and Tsimshian!

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