Dear Friends, 

Earlier this week, Washingtonians across our great state cast their ballots and made their voices heard in a number of important local elections. While we’re still a year away from the nationwide midterm elections, so many of you made sure to participate in this vital election.

I want to take a moment to thank you all for standing up and expressing your thoughts on how you want our communities to look. These local elections are the drivers of so many important decisions and policies. It was wonderful to watch the results roll in on Tuesday night and to see just how many Washingtonians voted this year.

While there were a great many candidates who were elected this week – some for the first time! – across the state, I want to highlight a handful of candidates that were victorious in their campaigns.

Thank you to everyone who cast their vote in this election!

It’s my great pleasure to see Kaylee Galloway win in her campaign for the Whatcom County Council District 1, Barry Buchanan win re-election for the Whatcom County Council At-Large, and Mike Shepard coming out on top in his race for the Port of Bellingham District 1.

The most effective way that we can impact our communities is to get out there and vote every single time there is an election. Helping put candidates into office that will serve on our behalf and represent our ideals makes an incredible difference, and I am so thankful both for all Washingtonians who cast their votes, and for those candidates that stood up to serve on our behalf!

I am so looking forward to working with these dedicated individuals moving forward, and I cannot wait to see all of the fantastic things that we can accomplish together!

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Friends, it brings great joy to my heart this week to tell you that the Centers for Disease Control recently endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.

Following this announcement, Governor Inslee sent out a statement detailing that the Western States Scientific Safety Advisory Group met to review this authorization, and confirmed the safety of the efficacy of the vaccine.

In a letter, the Advisory Group wrote that “The Workgroup carefully assessed the safety data for the vaccine, including the absence of any severe adverse events among vaccine recipients in the clinical trial. Reactions were mild, self-limited, similar to those seen in adolescents and adults and with other vaccines routinely recommended for children and were less common in those ages 5-11 years than in those 16-25 years.”

Along with their recommendation for vaccination, the CDC also announced that distribution of the pediatric vaccine began earlier this week, with plans to scale up in the coming weeks.

Parents of children now eligible – you can breath a sigh of relief! In the coming days and weeks the pediatric vaccine will be available at pediatric healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and more. Please head out as soon as you are able and get your kids vaccinated – it’s the most effective way to protect you, your family, and your community from COVID-19.

Whatcom Housing Week!

Those of you who have followed me along in this journey know my deep commitment and passion for equitable and affordable housing. Making sure that everyone has a safe, hospitable, and affordable place to call home is something that is near and dear to my heart, and it drives a great deal of my work across a number of issue areas.

Just a few weeks ago, the Whatcom Housing Alliance held their fifth Whatcom Housing Week! In their own words, “Housing Week is a series of virtual events that build awareness and support for innovative housing solutions to create safe, equitable, and affordable homes for everyone.”

Thank you to everyone who made this incredible series of events possible! It was wonderful to meet and talk with so many of you, and I truly relished hearing your perspectives on how we can best serve our communities to ensure that everyone who calls this place home is supported.

Each year, the Whatcom Housing Alliance honors a number of individuals and organizations that provide positive housing solutions for our communities. To learn more about this year’s winners, check out the short videos below:

Can’t wait to see you all for next year’s Whatcom Housing Week!

2021 National Conference of State Legislators

This week, it’s been my pleasure to virtually attend the 2021 National Conference of State Legislators! I wish I could be there in person in Tampa, Florida to meet with my fellow state legislators from across the country, but I am grateful to be able to attend this tremendous event virtually.

The National Conference of State Legislators is set up to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.

It is always a pleasure getting together with my counterparts from other states, even virtually, as it gives us a chance to get to know one another, exchange ideas, share successes and consult on failures. Working together we are able to bring back incredible ideas to our states, and through collaboration we are able to accomplish so much more than we ever could on our own.

Thank you to everyone who worked so diligently to put this conference on and thank you to all of my fellow state legislators!


Supporting Our Ferries

Since I was first elected, it has always been my great honor to work on behalf of the unique 40th LD in Olympia. Our district is distinctly different from others across Washington, and one issue that always stands out is supporting our ferries in the Salish Sea and Northwest Puget Sound.

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been service disruptions due to both crewing and vessels, and our delegation in Olympia has worked together and tirelessly to ensure that you have access to safe and reliable ferry service.

Senator Lovelett, Representative Ramel, and I are working closely to help get our ferry services the resources that they need. Later today I’ll be meeting with a number of officials from across Washington, and next week I’d like to invite you to a Ferry Service Briefing from 5:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. on Tuesday, November 9.

The briefing will include Senator Lovelett, Representative Ramel, Representatives Jake Fey and Dan Bronoske, Chair and Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Senator Rebecca Saldana, Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation committee, special guests from Washington State Ferries and the Governor’s Office, and myself.

If you’d like to join us for this important update, please register by clicking here.

A Tale to Warm the Cockles of Your Heart

On this Fantastic Friday, I’d like to take a moment and raise my hands in appreciate to Taylor Shellfish for their continued support of my work. Recently, they received a grant to work with the Suquamish tribe to provide their traditional foods, such as a shellfish species called cockles, to the community.

This is such a delicacy for our Native communities, and not many of us fully understand the importance of natural resources, such as fish and wildlife, to the health and cultural teachings of our tribal brothers and sisters.  They are intertwined along our coast with these beautiful shellfish.

Rep. Lekanoff with Bill Dewey and Bill Taylor from Taylor Shellfish (pre-COVID-19)

I want to especially think Bill Dewey with Taylor shellfish who is a part of this incredible project with the Suquamish tribe. Bill and I started many years ago on many important issues. Bill understands the value of habitat and the importance of shellfish to Washington state and our tribes.

For some more information about this project, cockles, and their importance, click here.

Congratulations Chairman Forsman!

We’re going to continue with our love for the Suquamish tribe this week, as it brings me great joy to report that last week Governor Inslee announced the appointment of Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman to serve on the University of Washington Board of Regents!

Chairman Forsman is the first Native person to serve as a UW Regent and is an alum of the University of Washington as well.

For years Chairman Forsman has done incredible work supporting our Native communities here in Washington State as the president of the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians and serving on the boards of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, the Seattle Waterfront Steering Committee, the Suquamish Tribal Cultural Committee, the Suquamish Museum, the Washington Indian Gaming Association, the West Sound Partners for Ecosystem Recovery, and the Tribal Leaders Congress on Education.

This is truly a well-deserved honor and I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations – I look forward to seeing all the incredible things you help the University of Washington accomplish, Chairman!

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