Dear Friends, 

We discussed last week how we must look at healing and recovery as we move forward through and past the COVID-19 pandemic, and this week I want to stress the importance of continuing to do your part to protect our communities.

Right now, a majority of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and I want to once again thank each of you! Getting vaccinated is the most effective way for you to protect yourself, and those around you.

Along with our vaccinations, getting your booster shot is important to stay protected! Anyone 12 and older is eligible for their first booster shot once they are six months out from their initial vaccination, and anyone over the age of 50 is eligible for the second booster shot as well.

Doing your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remains important, and I am so grateful for the continued efforts we are all making to protect one another.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Supporting Government-to-Government Relationships

My platform has always been to bring together tribal, state, and federal governments to build stronger policy that best supports our communities. This last session I have had the pleasure of spending time with Jamestown S’Klallam Chairman Ron Allen as we reach out and continue to build relationships with the National Council of Environmental Legislators, the National Council of State Legislators, and the National Congress of American Indians.

Through collaboration and conversation we are working to provide a platform to hold policy discussions centered on building capacity between tribal and state governments, always working together to find common ground that will inform our policies moving forward.

Chairman Allen has been engaged in this space and has been building these relationships throughout his 45 years as Chairman, and he continues to be a tremendous resource as we work to build mutually beneficial policies founded on the government-to-government relationship that tribes and states enjoy.

This June, at NCAI’s Mid-Year Conference held in Anchorage, Alaska we’ll be hosting our first roundtable to discuss building policy within our states. State Representative Beth Kertulla will help facilitate and coordinate with us on this meaningful dialogue as we come together an address how we can work within our government-to-government relationships to support tribes across the United States.

Thank you, Chairman Allen for all your continued work!

We will use this time to speak about the importance of educating one another as we work as two sovereigns sharing the same goal of creating healthy, safe, and prosperous communities.

Washington #1 State for Teachers!

Friends, you all know that the work we do today must be with our grandchildren’s grandchildren in mind. All that I do is to leave a better world for the next generation, and I will always work to ensure that our children have the resources they need to succeed.

It’s with that in mind that I am thrilled to let you know that, according to Scholaroo, Washington State is the #1 state for teachers in the country!

Scholaroo broke out their rankings into a number of different categories, including Salary, Work Benefits, Work Environment, and Student Performance – and after taking everything into account, Washington got the top score out of all fifty states.

We all owe our teachers a deep, heartfelt thanks for their ongoing work to educate our children – thank you, educators! I will always work on your behalf in Olympia, and I am proud to say that Washington is the best state for our teachers!

Protecting the Whatcom Watershed

Earlier this week, the Bellingham City Council voted unanimously to purchase an additional tract of land around Lake Whatcom, taking another important step to preserve the old growth forests that circle the city’s primary source for drinking water.

The City Council voted on Monday night to purchase 131 acres on the southern end of Lake Whatcom, protecting this beautiful tract of forest called the Bessie Timber Sale in this vital watershed that supplies water to more than 100,000 people, including the city of Bellingham, the community of Sudden Valley, and residents along the lake’s north shore.

The beautiful Lake Whatcom!

This has been an ongoing effort to preserve these important ecosystems over the past two decades, and our local government has worked tirelessly to ensure that this beautiful piece of Washington is supported and protected, both maintaining these lands for future generations to enjoy and keeping our drinking water safe.

Thank you to Whatcom County Councilmember Kaylee Galloway, Chair of the Natural Resource Committee, for championing this preservation of one of the longest and oldest growth forests bordering Whatcom Lake. We have been working with the State Department of Natural Resources for years, and their work and knowledge has been invaluable as we expand the areas around Whatcom Lake that are protected.

Thank you for all your hard work, Kaylee!

Together with our local community advocates we will continue working to promote our shared values, listening to the science and learning how these old growth forests impact climate change.  

I will continue working with the Whatcom County council to explore any necessary changes, whether they are through legislation or executive action, to update our standing policies and properly value these forest lands. Our communities demand this work, and together we will protect this natural splendor for the next seven generations to come.

Supporting Youth Mental Health

Today we have the best understanding of the importance of mental health in our children, and it’s incredibly important that we as parents and adults continue to educate ourselves on how to best support the next generation.

This Monday, April 18, Island Health will be hosting a Community Briefing on Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crisis – it will be held online from 6-7 p.m., and is free to anyone who would like to attend.

Here is how Island Health describes the event:

“Join Island Psychiatry & Behavioral Health’s team of experts for an online presentation and discussion focusing on the mental health needs of youth in our community. Topics include: signs your child may need help, responding to their need and promoting mental health.  Panelists will share practical resources and the opportunity to ask questions will be available following the presentation.”

Learn more and register here.

Endorsing My Re-election Campaign!

Friends, representing you in Olympia these past four years has been such an incredible honor. I have loved getting to know each and every one of you, and it is always my goal to listen to each of you as we continue working to create a place our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be proud to call home.

It’s with that in mind that I ask you to stand with my campaign – I would love to include your name on my list of endorsements as I run for re-election this year. If you’d like to endorse my campaign, click here – it will only take a minute!

Excited to run to continue as your voice in Olympia!

The 40th LD is an incredible place, and I am proud to have you behind me as I run for re-election to continue as your voice in Olympia.

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