Dear Friends, 

This coming Tuesday, November 2, is election day for all Washington voters!

On the ballot are a number of incredibly important local positions, and your vote will have a direct impact on policies that will affect our communities. If you have not received your ballot yet or need more information about registration or what is on your ballot, head over to for all the information that you need!

Voting is the most direct way that we can impact our communities and drive Washington to the future that we want to see. It’s important that you make sure your voice is heard this Tuesday, and that you participate in this statewide conversation on what direction we should go.

I hope you will take the time to carefully consider everything on your ballot this year, and that you will cast your vote with confidence and pleasure. That said, I would like to take a moment on this Fantastic Friday to talk about the candidates on your ballot that I am proud to endorse!

Below you’ll find some quick information about all of my endorsements, as well as links to their respective websites where you can learn more about them.

Kaylee Galloway for Whatcom County Council District 1

Kaylee will be a wonderful 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. 

Tomorrow Kaylee is hosting a Brunch & Ballots event with pastries, coffee, tea, and hot cocoa! I’m excited to join her, Representatives Sharon Shewmake, and Alicia Rule, County Councilmember Carol Frazey, and other community members. If you’d like to join us, get more information about the event here. I hope to see you there!

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!

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.

To find local drop boxes and voting centers for your ballot, click here.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

32nd Annual Centennial Accord

It was my honor to participate in the 32nd Annual Centennial Accord Meeting with Tribal and State leaders earlier this week!

The Centennial Accord was established in 1989 in order to improve the government-to-government relationship between the federally recognized tribes of Washington State, and the Washington State government.

Each year, leaders come together to confer and collaborate, always aiming to embody the guiding principles of the Accord to “better achieve mutual goals through an improved relationship between their sovereign governments.”

As the only Native person currently in the State Legislature, I take the responsibility of foster these relationships between sovereign governments seriously. I’m proud to work in the Legislature on a State-Tribal relations bill that will further these relationships and continue us on this path of mutual respect and collaboration!

For some more information about the history of the Centennial Accord, check out this page on the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs website.

An Update on Washington’s Redistricting

In recent weeks we’ve talked about the new proposed Legislative maps from the Redistricting Commission, and how they would impact the 40th LD as it stands today. Originally, the maps broke up the 40th LD, drastically reducing our established experience in Olympia and moving all our current State Legislators out of the district.

Earlier this week, the Commission released updated proposed maps, which you can view here.

Under these new maps, it is such a relief to see that the San Juan Islands and Anacortes are back in the 40th! I want to thank all those who stood up and made their voice heard over the past few weeks to help our community.

Thank you to all the tribes, constituents and Democratic Native Caucus who shared their voices for redistricting!

It’s so important that we do everything in our power to make sure that every voice and community are represented in Olympia, and it warms my heart to see such an outpouring of support for the 40th LD. Thank you, everyone!

As these maps continue through the review and approval process, keep an eye out for additional updates!

2022 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

Friends, every other year the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference brings together scientists, First Nations and tribal government representatives, resource managers, community and business leaders, knowledge holders, and policy makers to discuss the current state and future of protecting our Salish Sea.

The conference usually has around fifteen hundred attendees, and is a platform o build shared policies, practices, and procedures necessary to guide future actions for protecting and restoring the Salish Sea and its watersheds.

I am honored to be involved as we approach the 2022 SSEC in April and want to make you all aware that you can attend as well! The deadline for submissions is coming up – just a few more days! – and registration opens in early December.

This is an incredible chance to come together and discuss our beloved Salish Sea, and what we can be doing to ensure that it perseveres for the next seven generations to come. If you want to learn more about the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, check out their website here.


Education for the Future

In everything that we do, it’s important that we keep our children and our children’s children at the front of our minds. Always driving that is a support for our schools and our educators, and I am incredibly happy to let you know about a number of Native individuals excelling in that field!

Jerad Koepp (Wukchuni) was recently named the 2022 Washington State Teacher of the Year! According to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website, “in his role as the Native Student Program Specialist, Jerad provides cultural and academic support for about 230 Native American students from over 50 tribes, nations, bands, and villages.”

Congratulations to Jerad and thank you for everything that you do to support our youth! He has done an incredible job not only in the field of education but has also helped to shape a number of local policies supporting Native education, culture, and students. We are truly blessed to have an educator like him in our State.

In addition to Jerad winning Teacher of the Year, the Washington State Board of Education has had Bill Kallappa II (Nisqually) as a member since 2019 – and I want to congratulate him on becoming the Board President! 

School Board President Bill Kallappa II

It is so important that we work to honor tribal sovereignty in our curriculum and continue to ensure that our Native youth have access to the education and resources that they need to thrive. With these three individuals and countless others working to that effect, we should all feel optimistic about our future.

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