Democratic appointees to Washington State’s Redistricting Commission recently released two proposals for state-level Legislative Redistricting. Both proposals include significant changes to our 40th LD.
I am deeply grateful for the work of Commissioners Sims and Walkinshaw. They have balanced many competing interests. Their jobs were made harder by the late delivery of necessary census data, but they have for the most part produced thoughtful proposals grounded in Democratic values.
The 40th LD is a unique district – we are a rural district yet we elect environmental champions who work for water quality, salmon recovery, Orcas, and the health of our Salish Sea. Those are your values and we work every day to take your voice to Olympia.
We have had incredible legislative success in the past few years, and under the proposed redistricting maps it would be truly difficult to get the same bills passed.
There isn’t a lot of time left to make our voices heard and encourage the redistricting committee to ensure that the new 40th lives up to the values that we all share. Here are the links to view the maps, make comments, and sign up to give spoken testimony at the statewide meeting:
Submit written or recorded comments: https://www.redistricting.wa.gov/submit-public-testimony
It’s important that we keep the 40th LD largely intact, and as your representative I will continue to work on your behalf to protect the things you care about most. Now is the time to make your voice heard – check out the maps above and submit your testimony letting the commission know what you think!
Here are some quick points to use as a starting point when crafting your message:
What to ask for
- Make smaller changes; don’t overhaul the 40th.
- Leave east Whatcom in the 42nd and keep San Juan County and Anacortes in the 40th. Make changes to the edges as needed to balance the districts.
- Don’t put the people of the 40th at a disadvantage with all new legislators in Olympia. That’s unfair to us and to the important issues we value.
- Ferries are a critical piece of our transportation system in our state and we need six legislators working for them, not just three. Putting San Juan together with Whidbey puts San Juan County at a disadvantage. Small businesses and the people who live on the San Juan islands need ferries.
- Keep our Hispanic communities together – the proposed maps split Hispanic neighborhoods in Mount Vernon in half, splitting some agricultural and residential areas between districts.
- The Democratic maps split the Nooksack Tribe, a clear community of interest. It also moves the Tribe to a new district with all new legislators. Please keep Nooksack together and in the 42nd.
- The Lake Whatcom watershed is a community of interest; keep them together in the 40th.
Keep an eye out for more updates on the redistricting efforts – I’ll be sure to keep you in the know about all the latest developments as we continue to work to protect the 40th LD.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Redistricting Commission Public Meeting
A few days ago, the Redistricting Commission held a public statewide meeting to hear comments from Washingtonians about their recently released redistricting maps. As we talked about last week and above, these proposed maps have profound impacts on the 40th LD.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard strong concerns from many of our community members that the changes to the 40th do not reflect these values. Here are a few of the concerns I have heard:
- Fair and effective representation is undermined when the proposed district reduces from six to three the legislators who will focus on improving the ferry service to and from San Juan County that our small businesses and citizens rely on for critical supplies and access to medical care.
- Communities of interest are not maintained when the refineries that have supported generations of Washingtonians and have long been the strong heart of our school districts and our community are moved out of the 40th. Further, combining the San Juan Islands in with the growler base on Whidbey Island, pits the two communities against each other instead of providing a strong voice in negotiations over noise impacts.
- Tribal sovereignty is not respected when there has been a lack of consultation by the Commission with the treaty tribes that call the 40th LD home. Our tribes have fishing and hunting and gathering rights in the 40th LD, specifically in the San Juan Islands, and under the proposed plan many of them would be split between districts.
- The voices of historically underrepresented Hispanic communities, including farmworkers, in Skagit and Whatcom counties are diminished, rather than strengthened, by being separated into two different districts.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the meeting this week and made their voices heard! It’s incredibly important that we all participate in this great discourse to make sure that the commission knows how we feel here in the 40th LD.
Redistricting Commission Chair Sarah Augistine at this week’s hearing
If you weren’t able to make the meeting, you can still share your thoughts! As I mentioned above, check out the maps and submit your testimony at the links below:
Submit written or recorded comments: https://www.redistricting.wa.gov/submit-public-testimony
Protecting Our Tribal Communities
As we continue to move through this redistricting process, it’s important to me that everyone have a seat at the kitchen table, and that I have the chance to sit down and hear from all Washingtonians. I had the opportunity to meet with Redistricting Commissioners Brady Walkinshaw and April Sims, and we were joined by Native American Democratic Caucus Chair Julie Johnson, Barbara Lewis, and longtime 40th LD constituent Lisa McShane on behalf of the Nooksack tribe.
Julie Johnson and Barbara Lewis shared strong recommendations to remind the Commission that early consultation with Tribes is important. They reminded them that although the Commission is honoring their relationship to tribes and implementing equity and diversity, they failed the tribal communities by writing out the only Native American in the entire state legislature – me!
Representative Lekanoff with Governor Inslee and representatives from treaty tribes in 2019
We have invested in our relationships across all governing bodies, honored our treaty tribes who have primary rights, usual and custom rights, and inherent rights. Our industries are working hard with us to sustain their jobs and reflect the values within our communities, and our relationship with labor is one of the strongest in the state. I value each and every one of you and please know that I don’t speak for you – I speak with you.
We are going to ensure that we protect this wonderful place that we all call home.
A COVID-19 Update
Friends, as we approach the holiday season it’s important to remember how far we have come in the battle against COVID-19. Washington state has done a tremendous job in getting vaccinated, and I am so proud of all the sacrifices and work that you and others have done to keep our communities safe.
As of this Monday, just over 77% of all Washingtonians over the age of 11 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 70% of our population is fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
This is incredible progress, and by far the best defense we have against COVID-19. Thank you to everyone who has gotten vaccinated – you are taking the simple, easy, and free step forward towards protecting our loved ones and communities.
If you or someone you know have not yet been vaccinated, please reach out them! It’s important that we stay in contact with those around us who have not yet received this important protection against COVID-19, and that we continue to encourage them to take the step.
For more resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccines, check out the dedicated webpage from the Department of Health here.
74th Council of State Governments West Annual Meeting
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 74th Council of State Governments West Annual Meeting from September 28 – October 1 in Colorado Springs.
It was wonderful to have the chance to sit down and connect with other state legislators and legislative staff, as well as the private sector, academic and nonprofit organizations, and program speakers.
Over those three days, I had the pleasure of learning from and getting to know these other incredibly dedicated individuals. Hearing updates and presentations on energy and the environment, justice and education lifted me up and left me feeling optimistic for the journey ahead of us.
I want to say a special thank you to CSG West Chair, Representative Clark Kauffman and Colorado Host Committee Chair, Senator Chris Hansen who did such a spectacular job organizing the conference and bringing together such great speakers and panels.
This year’s conference left me energized and excited for the work ahead of us!
Water Supply Task Force Meeting
Earlier this week, our Joint Legislative Task Force on Water Supply met once again to cover a variety of important topics that impact how we manage our water in Washington state.
This week, we spoke about next steps that need to be taken on the independent peer review of the estuary study portion of the 1999 Duke Engineering Report as well as the Skagit Basin supply and demand synthesis, laying out and discussing how we can utilize these two resources in order to best manage our water supply so that our communities are supported, our farms are supplied, and our ecosystems get what they need.
Additionally, we had a portion of our meeting set aside to hear public comment from Washingtonians – and I want to express my gratitude to all those who joined us this week to share their opinions! We make improvements together, and I so appreciate you making your voice heard.
This is an important issue that will always be a top priority of mine – I’ll continue to provide updates as we move through next steps on our water supply and management throughout Washington state.
Climate Summit 2021
In everything that we do, it’s important that the next seven generations to come are at the front of our minds. That is what drives me each and every day, and it’s why I place such a high priority on sustaining and protecting our environment and ecosystems.
A few days ago, I was able to join Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s (OIC) Climate Summit 2021.
The OIC drives significant efforts to recognize climate change risks and inspire positive action. Beyond overseeing insurers’ ability to mitigate the financial risk to consumers, Commissioner Kreidler has encouraged them to invest responsibly and follow global financial reporting standards from the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures (TCFD).
The Climate Summit 2021 was incredibly informative, and it was my pleasure to join a national audience of climate, insurance industry, government, and private sector professionals to understand and explore how climate change impacts our communities, regulatory efforts, and businesses.
Thank you to all of the wonderful speakers that made the event so great, and thank you even more for your continued work on protecting our environment. This is an issue that should be important to us all, and I will always do everything in my power to ensure that the beauty of the 40th LD is protected.