Dear Friends, 

Earlier this week we so many of us stood up to make our voices heard in our primary elections. There were a number of local positions on the ballot here in the 40th LD, and I want to extend a personal thank you to each and every person that cast their ballot.

It’s easy to get caught up in the national elections that dominate news and advertisements, but so many important decisions are made by our local officials. Speaking with your ballot on local elections is the most impactful way you can help your community, and I am grateful for everyone who participated.

While there is still a long way to go until the general election this fall, I want to take a moment to congratulate several candidates on their successes on Tuesday:

  • Kaylee Galloway for Whatcom County Council District 1
  • Rebecca Lewis for Whatcom County Council District 3
  • Barry Buchanan for Whatcom County Council At-Large
  • Mike Shepard for Port of Bellingham District 1
  • Ryan Walters for Mayor of Anacortes
  • Enrique Lopez-Cisneros for Sedro-Woolley School Board of Directors

Congratulations to all of you and thank you for standing up to help make our 40th LD a better place!

Each of these candidates will do an incredible job and work tirelessly to improve this place we all call home. Look out for additional information about their campaigns as we get closer to the general election – I hope that they can all count on you for your support!

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Weekly Trivia! 

Who will be representing the 40th LD in the Olympics tomorrow?

Protecting the Cascade Creek

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the Coho Preserve and speaking with some local individuals who are dedicated to preserving salmonids in the Cascade Creek.

It was wonderful to hear from such passionate individuals about this issue that is very close to my heart. I’d like to share a few resources that they shared with me – the East Orcas Water Budget Study, and the Limiting Factors and Recovery Strategies Study that looked at different variables impacting salmon populations.

The beautiful Cascade Creek!

The bottom line is this: water is the primary limiting factor of salmon recovery in Cascade Creek, and we must do whatever we can to help our native salmon return to their natural waterways.

The conversation was incredibly enlightening, and was made even better by an additional gathering last Saturday near the Cascade Creek. While I know there is a lot of hard work ahead of us, my heart is lifted by the passion so many have shown on this important issue.

I will always continue working to help preserve our natural splendor here in the 40th LD and across Washington state.

Taking Steps to Protect Our Salmon

Salmon recovery is an issue that has far reaching impacts, and one that remains at the forefront of many conversations throughout Washington state. In Seattle, for example, they get 20 percent of their energy from three dams built along the Skagit River – but those dams do a great deal of harm to our native salmon populations.

Recently, the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle, which owns Seattle City Light, a utility that operates the three dams. The Upper Skagit Tribe paid for a billboard in downtown Seattle calling for the city to study the viability of removing the dams.

While these dams do provide a cleaner source of energy to the city of Seattle and surrounding areas, they also block the ability for anadromous fish, like our salmon that go up and down the river, to pass through the way they need to go. This has rippling effects, endangering our resident orca pods that feed on Chinook salmon.

Addressing this important issue is a balancing act, but we must prioritize preserving our ecosystems and environment. I strongly support the looking at fish passage as an important aspect of the operation of these dams, and I urge everyone involved to seriously look at alternatives.

If we do not act in the best interest of the animals and ecosystems that surround us, then our children and our children’s children will be worse off for it. We must take steps today that will benefit seven generations to come.

Washington State COVID-19 Update

Last week we talked about the updated CDC mask guidelines that recommend masking up when we’re in indoor public spaces, even if you are fully vaccinated. This is an added precaution as the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread and is a strong way that you can help keep your family and those around you safe.

Now, this week I am happy to report that just under 70 percent of all Washingtonians aged 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine!

Photo courtesy of the Washignton Departmetn of Health COVID-19 Data Dashboard

We continue to make strong progress in getting our communities protected, and these vaccinations are the strongest way that you can protect those around you. If you or a loved one have not gotten vaccinated, I strongly urge you to do so as soon as you can!

The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can truly put COVID-19 behind us. We have gotten this far together, supporting one another through tough times, and I know that we will get through it side by side.

An Update on Our Law Enforcement

Friends, recently there has been some confusion around several bills designed with community advocates, local governments, and law enforcement representatives at the table. Recently we have heard concerns that this legislation limits the ability of law enforcement to help during a behavioral health crisis.

Senator Liz Lovelett, Representative Alex Ramel, and I want to be perfectly clear and transparent with all of you: nothing in the bills changes what calls officers are allowed to show up for, nor do they require officers to leave the area if a crime is not being committed.

We laid out the different bills and what they do in more detail for you here.

We must always act with the safety of our communities in mind, and that is exactly what we have done. While we will always listen to and respect the voices of our law enforcement, we heard the calls last year asking for real reform to our criminal legal system and action on police accountability.

It was important that we act to help rebuild that trust between law enforcement and communities, and we will always work with your best interests at heart. Please reach out if you have any additional concerns or questions!

Trivia Answer!

Bellingham’s own Jake Riley will compete in the Olympic marathon tomorrow at 3 P.M.! He will be one of he 110 competitors from 40 nations on their 26.2-mile journey. Riley will become the fifth Bellingham-born athlete to compete in the Olympics and the first in the Summer Games since 1972.

Jake Riley at the 2020 Olympic Qualifier
Jake Riley at the 2020 Olympic Qualifier 

If Riley, who now lives in Boulder, Colorado, manages to finish among the top three, he would become the first Bellingham-born athlete to earn an Olympic medal.

In the Olympic qualifier last February, Riley finished second with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 2 seconds – less than a minute behind the first place finisher Galen Rupp, who will also be racing tomorrow afternoon.

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