As the only Native American serving in Washington’s State Legislature, I am proud to help support Native Americans seeking elected offices. When I ran my first campaign in 2018, I was surrounded by love and tough love with uplifting encouragement.
I always remember my humble teachings from my home and from our Tribes, and no matter what, we always reach back to give others strength and encouragement to succeed, as we know we are always stronger when we stand as One.
Today I surround my fellow Native American Candidates with the same support you all shared with me.
I am so honored stand next to Claudia Kauffman running to serve as a State Senator for the 47th LD. Claudia is known for her historical leadership in the State legislature. She serves with grace and integrity and I am thankful she took the time to share her teachings of the legislature with me. Learn more and support her campaign here.
This election, we are blessed to have Daryl Williams, a Tulalip tribal member, running to represent the 38th LD alongside me in the People’s House! Daryl Williams was born and raised on the Tulalip Reservation and has spent his 45-year career working on natural resources policy for the Tulalip Tribes and over two-decades working on state policy on behalf of Tulalip. Learn more and support his campaign here.
Finally, we have an incredible leader in Chris Sterns running to represent the 47th LD! He has been a long time Native American political partner at all levels of government and is a leading example of the kind experience we must bring to the legislature so we may work together for our communities. Learn more and support his campaign here.
I know there are a few more candidates running for office, but I wanted to highlight my personal experience with Claudia, Daryl, and Chris.
Please consider joining and donating to their campaigns. Investing in voter outreach and electing Native candidates will make an important difference in Washington State. We all know that electing smart, diverse, good people to office can be a game changer and this is a team who I know and believe in.
I’ll be donating and I hope you’ll consider joining me in that.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
NW Fish Passage Podcast!
Friends, it’s no secret that our work today is going to dictate how our grandchildren’s grandchildren experience the earth. We must take action today to protect our natural beauty, and at the top of that list is ensuring our native salmon are able to survive and thrive long into the future.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the NW Fish Passage – an organization dedicated to removing physical, regulatory, and financial barriers to improve access to fish habitat and funding opportunities by providing cost-effective deisgn and permit services for “shovel ready” projects – to talk about exactly this on their podcast.
Here is a description of the episode:
“In this episode, Annika Fain interviews Debra Lekanoff, a Washington State Representative. Debra represents the 40th legislative district and is currently the only Native American woman that serves in the Legislature. She is part Tlingit, salmon people, and part Aleut, seal people, from Southeast Alaska, and has lived in the Skagit Valley for over 20 years. She has over 20 years of government experience and has brought people together to collaborate on many issues. Debra talks about what salmon and the natural environment mean to her. She presents critical ideas about conservation and creating a common baseline for restoration. Debra provides advice on how scientists and engineers can interact more effectively with the public. Also, she talks about legislation that will benefit generations to come. Enjoy!”
You can listen here.
It was such a pleasure sitting down with Annika, and I hope you enjoy the episode! Make sure to check out the rest of her podcast as well – the work done by the NW Fish Passage is truly incredible!
Fighting for Reproductive Rights
Recently, 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.
Now, as we come up on an incredibly important election, it’s more important than ever that we 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.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Alert System is Live!
As we’ve discussed recently, the special alert system that will help locate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People is live!
More than four in five Native women will experience violence in their lifetimes and are murdered at more than ten times the national average, and it’s plain to see that this is an issue that we need to address. I’m proud to have led the way on creating an alert system to help identify and locate Missing and Murdered Indigenous People that will save lives and bring our loved ones home.
It was my pleasure to sit down with King 5 to discuss this new alert system, and the importance of addressing this terrible plague that impacts so many of our Native brothers and sisters – I’m proud of the work we’ve done and am glad we have this new system in place! Check out my full interview here.
Thank you to King 5 for the chance to talk about this incredible new system!
Now that this system is live, when an Indigenous person is reported as missing the investigator pursuing the case can ask the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to issue an alert that will help notify the public.
The system will work similarly to “silver” alerts that are used to notify the public about missing vulnerable adults, broadcasting information about Missing and Murdered Indigenous People on message signs and in highway advisory radio messages. It also will provide the information through press releases to local and regional media.
When issues are as plain to see as this one, it’s clear that we must take action. Addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People in this country must continue to be a priority, we must do everything we can to protect Native women.
Doorbelling for Representative Ramel!
This campaign cycle is incredibly important for so many reasons, and we must do everything that we can to support strong, passionate individuals who are ready to roll up their sleeves and do the work.
There are so many great candidates that I am proud to support, and I’ll be keeping you all in the loop about upcoming events and doorbelling that I’ll be taking part in to support those running for office.
One such event is to support my fellow legislator in the People’s House for the 40th LD – Alex Ramel!
A week from tomorrow, on July 23rd, I’ll be doorbelling with you all on behalf of Alex’s campaign – I hope you can join! Find all of the relevant information below, but ahead of time I look forward to speaking individually to those who come out, and to hearing your specific concerns and needs for the 40th LD.
I hope to see you there!
Addressing High Gas Prices
Friends, without a doubt we have all seen the high prices as we fill up our gas tanks. It’s something that is being felt across the country and around the world – and it’s something that we are taking seriously.
I want to commend Governor Inslee for his strong action on your behalf, and to highlight his recent letter to the Western States Petroleum Association advocating for lower gas prices. Ensuring that all Washingtonians can afford to fill up their gas tanks is incredibly important and a high priority, and I’m proud to stand alongside the Governor as we work to ease the burden that high prices at the pump have caused.
Thank you, Governor Inslee!
Governor Inslee wrote in his letter to the Western States Petroleum Association, “Washingtonians are in crisis facing climbing gas prices of up to $5.67 a gallon, meanwhile your members rake in record profits, carelessly ignoring the harm to working people and families. I am calling on the Western States Petroleum Association and your members to take immediate actions to provide relief.”
This is something that we must take strong, decisive action on – and quickly. It’s not right that these companies enjoy record profits while the rest of us suffer. Thank you, Governor Inslee, for once again standing up for Washington!
Supporting State Representatives Dave Paul and Clyde Shavers!
Friends, as you all know this is a crucial election year. The votes that we cast this fall will have impacts for generations, and there are so many incredible candidates running for all levels of government in Washington State, and across the country.
From reproductive rights to environmental protections to supporting our workers and so much more, every action we take today impacts the next seven generations to come. I want to take a moment to highlight a few candidates that I hope can count on your support.
Dave Paul and Clyde Shavers in the 10th LD!
Dave has been an incredible Representative in the Peoples’ House, advocating on your behalf and working tirelessly for the benefit of the 10th LD, Washington State, and the country. It’s an honor to work alongside him, and I’m proud to support his campaign.
And now I’m excited to let you know that I’ll be attending the event as well as the keynote speaker! These are two incredible individuals who are tremendous leaders and are passionate about helping Washington State. I can’t wait to see you all at their event and tell you more about them!
If you’re able, please consider showing your support by donating to their campaigns, and by joining us on July 21!
Expanding Access to Healthcare
Over 100,000 uninsured Washington residents (nearly a quarter of the state’s uninsured population) are prohibited from purchasing coverage through the state-based marketplace with their own money, Washington Healthplanfinder, due to federal restrictions, and are not eligible for financial assistance through federal tax credits or subsidies.
I’m proud to add my name to a letter to the Federal Government aiming to expand access to health insurance in Washington State.
Through our state’s Health Benefits Exchange, Washington is applying for a Section 1332 waiver to the Affordable Care Act to expand access to health insurance coverage.
This waiver application is part of plan supported in this year’s budget to extend affordable health care coverage to Washington immigrant residents, including people who are undocumented. Please see the attached support letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
If successful, this federal waiver will newly allow more Washingtonians to obtain health and dental coverage, an action which is broadly supported at the state level (demonstrated most recently by the hundreds of supportive, cross-sector, comments received during the state public comment period).
Access to health insurance is incredibly important for each of us, and I’ll always work on your behalf, aiming to provide affordable, quality insurance to all Washingtonians.
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 IAM District 751, the Mount Baker Sierra Club, and the National Women’s Political Caucus for endorsing my campaign!
Excited to run to continue as your voice in Olympia!
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.