It is with a heavy heart this morning that I write to you an update on something that we’ve talked about several times over the past month. Earlier today, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no longer a constitutional right for a child bearer to make decisions for their own body.
For nearly fifty years Roe v. Wade has protected a woman’s right to choose at a federal level, and what this decision does is delegate that authority to the states instead – where we have already seen a concerted attack on reproductive rights and many states are poised to act now that Roe is overturned.
As a mother I understand how critical it is that our daughters and sisters have access to reproductive care and are trusted to make their own decisions. Here in Washington, we will stand firm protecting Washingtonian’s right to choose.
Unfortunately, last weekend I tested positive for COVID-19 and am unable to stand on the streets with all of you who are out their demonstrating their disgust. My heart is with all of you, and son enough I’ll be right alongside each of you as we roll up our sleeves and continue fighting for reproductive rights.
Make no mistake – Washington recognizes that all people have an inherent right to choose, that bodily autonomy is paramount when it comes to having children. If you or someone you love needs assistance, you can find more resources here.
I will always work to protect those rights as your voice in Olympia, and I am ready to link arms with my fellow representatives in the peoples’ house to fight against this new attack on the rights of our daughters, sisters, friends, family, and all those who bear children.
support candidates that are ready to fight for reproductive rights. I want to take a moment and highlight a few of the key races coming up in our elections this November – races that need your support to maintain our majority in Olympia.
If you are able, please consider donating to these campaigns and lending them your support – I’m proud to stand by them, and I will always defend the reproductive rights of all Washingtonians.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
A COVID-19 Update
Unfortunately, over the weekend, I tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, we regretfully had to postpone the Women + Wellness event that was scheduled for earlier this week.
We will be back with a new date in the coming week and are hoping to reschedule for July. Please stay tuned and know how much we appreciate your support and patience as we reschedule.
On a personal note, I am surrounded by a loving community and quarantined in my house with my little dog, Nurse Cedar. Thank you all for your kind wishes and can’t wait for our event together.
I am feeling better every day and am so thankful for the COVID-19 vaccines that have protected me from severe illness! If you are feeling unwell, be sure to get tested and take the necessary precautions! Stay home, wash your hands, and do your part to prevent further spread of COVID-19 – it’s us to each of us as individuals to protect those around us.
I’m looking forward to getting back out there and seeing you all just as soon as I can.
Firearm Legislation in Congress
Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked several times about taking common sense steps to protect our children and communities from firearm violence, and this is something that is truly near and dear to my heart as a mother, a community member, and your lawmaker.
We must continue to look at our failures and resolve to heal from these acts of violence. I’m proud of the work we have done so far, and happy to have the endorsement of The Alliance for Gun Responsibility in this election!
Now, I want to take a moment to tell you about the legislation that the Senate passed last night. The legislation is set to be the most impactful steps taken at the federal level to prevent gun violence in nearly 30 years – and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the House would immediately vote on the bill before Congress heads to their two-week Fourth of July recess.
The House is set to vote on, and pass, the legislation today before sending it to President Biden for his signature.
The legislation will enhance background checks for younger firearm buyers, provide state incentives for states to implement red flag laws, close the ‘boyfriend loophole,’ fund mental health and school safety, as well as enact tougher penalties on illegal purchasers.
Read more about the specifics here.
These are all sensible steps forward in preventing future firearm violence, and I commend the bipartisan set of legislators who have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to craft and pass this legislation. Our actions today must keep our children and their children in mind, and I’m proud of this monumental step forward.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Friends, by now we all understand the impact that each of us can have on preventing the spread of COVID-19 to those around us. Getting vaccinated remains the most powerful way that we can protect our communities, and I’m excited to let you know that our young children are now eligible to be vaccinated!
Last weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave final approval for use of the Pfizer vaccine for children six months through four years old, and the Moderna vaccine for children six months through five years old.
“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19. We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.
This is an incredible step forward in the ongoing work to stay safe from COVID-19, and I would encourage parents to take this important step to protect your children. If you have questions, reach out to your doctors to learn about benefits of getting your children vaccinated.
For more information, click here.
Chief Malerba as U.S. Treasurer!
Earlier this week, President Biden announced that he is appointing Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba as the United States Treasurer – making her the first Native person to serve in the position, and the first Native person to have their signature on our currency.
Chief Malerba is the lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe in Connecticut, and she has previously worked as a registered nurse, as well as served in various tribal government roles throughout her career.
Chief Malerba, our next Treasurer!
“It is especially important that our Native voices are respected,” Chief Malerba. “This appointment underscores this Administration’s commitment to doing just that. I am excited to serve our communities as Treasurer and for the work ahead.”
Congratulations to Chief Malerba on this historic appointment! This is a tremendous step for an administration that continues to value representation and experience. I can’t wait to see Chief Malerba’s signature on the dollar bill soon!
An Update from Congressman Larsen
Friends, I’m pleased to share with you an update from Congressman Rick Larsen – and I want to extend my thanks for the Congressman taking the time to share information with State Legislators so we can follow up on implementing federal laws in Washington State and our communities.
Here is the update from Congressman Larsen:
Earlier this week, the House Armed Services Committee passed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
There will lots of headlines about the bill, including the total amount of the bill. However, I want to give you a view of a few things I was able to get in the bill:
1. A provision to protect servicemembers from online sexual harassment
2. Strong language supporting NATO and Ukraine
3. A pilot program to give servicemembers and veterans the option of starting a family by cryopreserving eggs or sperm before deploying for combat
4. A provision to ensure veterans can effectively appeal decisions regarding leaving the service over medical reasons
5. $75m to support Impact Aid for school districts that serve students of active duty members, like Oak Harbor
6. Mandated a review of how the Navy can better support noise insulation and noise mitigation in communities affected by jet noise
Just to name a few.
We will debate the full bill on the House Floor in July.
Thank you again to Congressman Larsen for keeping us informed! I’ll be sure to provide additional updates as this makes its way through Congress and is implemented nationwide as well.
Local Childcare Organizations Awarded Funding!
Finally, I am pleased to let you all know that the Washington State Department of Commerce Early Learning Facilities (ELF) program has awarded two projects in the 40th LD with a total of $1.7 million!
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County and the Kaleidoscope Preschool & Child Care Center will both receive awards to help support major renovations of their facilities, expanding their ability to provide services to the local communities at an incredible level!
This grant came from the funding appropriated to the ELF program in the 2021-2023 capital budget. The ELF grant will make it possible for these organizations to expand and serve additional children in our district. In Washington, it is estimated that 117,884 families with young children live in child care deserts. Appropriations in the ELF program are an important strategy for improving access to affordable care options.
Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County and the Kaleidoscope Preschool & Child Care Center!
Working on your behalf in Olympia has been the pleasure of a lifetime these past four years, and it’s been an honor to work alongside so many great individuals and organizations as I’ve worked to represent you and the interests of the 40th LD.
Now I’m pleased to thank a number of great organizations who have endorsed my second re-election campaign!
Thank you so much to the 40th LD Democrats, IAM District 751, and the Mount Baker Sierra Club for endorsing my campaign!
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!
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.