Dear Friends, 

This year, coming up on the Fourth of July, it’s clear we have a lot of work to do. We’re in an election year, and our work over the next few months will determine the direction of our state, and our country.

As we celebrate America’s Independence Day we need to take a step back and ask the important question – what kind of America do we want to see? We have the incredible opportunity in front of us not just to answer that question, but to make our answer a reality. Together we can shape the future that we want to see for ourselves, and more importantly for our children.

This all has to start in our communities – neighbor-to-neighbor, sitting down at kitchen tables and coming together to share ideas and goals.

This Fourth of July the stage is set for us to create the America that we want to see. I’m proud to represent the 40th in Olympia, and I’m honored to work with so many amazing people on building a better 40th, a better Washington, and a better world.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Addressing Native Mascots at NCAI Midyear 

Friends, earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) 2022 Midyear Conference in Anchorage, Alaska!

It was a pleasure seeing so many incredible people and reconnecting after several years apart. I was honored to be included in their agenda, specifically as a part of their breakout session Accurate Representation of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Contemporary Education, held on June 14.

Thank you to everyone at NCAI for such a fantastic conference!

As a result of the breakout session planning, NCAI and the National Indian Education Association are forming a stronger relationship in their joint efforts to retire harmful Native “themed” mascots and infuse more robust and dynamic tribally informed curriculum into public K-12 classrooms. Communities across the country are also planning screening sessions for the “Fighting Indians” documentary to highlight the importance of tribal sovereignty in mascot-related discussions and showcase the harms perpetuated by these monikers and fan behaviors.

I’m proud of the work that we have done to remove these harmful stereotypes from our schools here in Washington, and am ready to roll up my sleeves to help other states and communities do away with Native mascots.

Thank you to NCAI and all who came out to the incredible conference! I can’t wait to see you all soon.

Fighting for Reproductive Rights 

Last week, 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.

Emily Randall for State Senate in the 26th LD

Sharon Shewmake for State Senate in the 42nd LD 

Bill Ramos for the State Legislature in the 5th LD

Lisa Callan for the State Legislature in the 5th LD 

Dave Paul for the State Legislature in the 10th LD

Alicia Rule for the State Legislature in the 42nd LD

Brandy Donaghy for the State Legislature in the 44th LD


Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Alert System is Live!

Today I am so incredibly excited to let you know that the special alert system that will help locate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People is live as of today!

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.

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.

Upcoming Primary Election! 

Fellow Washingtonians, this year is moving by so quickly it’s hard to believe that it’s already July! The summer is in full swing, and we have an important election coming up soon.

I want to take a moment to lay out some key dates for you to make sure that you have all the important information necessary to cast your vote in the primary election!

The first important date – July 15! Primary ballots will be mailed out to all registered voters, you don’t need to request one. July 25, however, is the last day that you’ll be able to register or change your address for the primary election.

If you’re unsure about your voter status – click here! Make sure that you are all set up and ready to go so that your ballot is mailed right to your door. It’s so important that all our voices are heard, and there’s no better way for you to impact our community than by voting in our elections.

Abortion Coverage for HCA Programs 

The news of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade has created a lot of fear across the country. There are many states that are immediately rolling back access to abortions. It is awful, and I will always work to protect reproductive rights.

I want to make one thing abundantly clear – access to abortion has not changed in Washington State. Now, I would also like to share a few pieces of information in access for those who receive their healthcare through the Healthcare Authority (HCA) in Washington State.  

Apple Health (Medicaid) – People who move to Washington with the intent to live here have access to Apple Health (Medicaid) with no waiting period, as long as they meet the income eligibility requirements. A person does not need to live in the state for a specific period of time prior to applying or receiving Apple Health coverage. Using state funds, Apple Health covers abortion as part of its reproductive health services.

School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program and Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program – Services related to voluntary termination of pregnancy are covered in all plans available in both programs.  All plans have providers who either provide these services, or provide information for accessing services if the provider does not perform these services.

If you don’t qualify for Apple Health (because you are a resident of another state) you may qualify for the Northwest Abortion Access fund

This is an ongoing fight that will continue on into the future, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to do the difficult work alongside all of you. My heart goes out to those across the country whose lives will be irrevocably changed as a result of this Supreme Court decision.

Protecting Southern Resident Killer Whales 

We have good news and bad news about our Southern Resident Killer Whales off the coast of our beautiful Washington State.

Recently, researchers from the Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research (SR3) team, using drone photographs, identified that several orca whales were pregnant, but several more were found to be in poor condition between September 2021 and April 2022.

“While we have reason to remain hopeful with the reports of recent pregnancies, the reality is that there are several Southern Residents that aren’t doing well and we’re very concerned about the population at large,” fish and wildlife Director Kelly Susewind said in the release. “We’re taking action today to address these immediate concerns, and we continue working with our partner organizations to implement the Governor’s Task Force recommendations for the long-term health of these orcas.”

Now, a new Emergency Rule will require commercial whale-watching boats to keep least a half nautical mile away from the Southern Residents this summer The news restrictions will be in effect through September, but it does not impact viewing of other, healthier populations, such as the Bigg’s killer whales or humpback and gray whales.

We share the world with these incredible creatures, and I’m so grateful to those who do the important work of keeping them safe. We must always prioritize keeping our world pristine and beautiful for the next seven generations to come – both for our children, and the killer whales yet to come.

Endorsement Shoutouts!

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 Win with Women, and the Riveters Collective 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.

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