This past Sunday, after hours of votes on amendments in Washington, D.C., the Senate voted on and approved the Inflation Reduction Act, which will devote hundreds of billions of dollars to clean energy in the United States, and speed up our move away from antiquated fossil fuels.
The $369 billion set for the climate portions of the bill is the biggest investment in clean energy in our country’s history, four times as large as investments we saw in President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.
We must always work to protect our environment for seven generations to come!
According to Politico, the bill’s “climate measures include billions of dollars to expand wind and solar power production, bring electric vehicles closer to the financial reach of more Americans and make $1.5 billion available to oil companies cut down their greenhouse gas emissions and penalize them for failing to do so. And it would help develop technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, hydrogen and small nuclear reactors that experts say will be needed to get the U.S. to net-zero emissions by 2050, a level scientists say is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. It would devote $4 billion to help address an imminent disaster for the southwest as climate change-fueled drought threatens power and water supplies for 40 million people along the Colorado River.”
This is an incredible step forward, and the Inflation Reduction Act will also accomplish a great number of other things that will benefit the American people. The House of Representatives voted on the bill today and now it goes to President Biden’s desk in the near future.
I want to take a moment to thank all of the incredible and dedicated individuals who have worked to make this a reality – not just the members of Congress, but all of their staffs, the committee staffs, and everyone else who made this step forward possible.
We have a long way to go, but thanks to the hard work of these public servants, we have taken a great stride in the right direction.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Helping Hands Reopening!
It is with great pleasure that I write today to let you know that Helping Hand’s Sedro-Woolley Solutions Center on the Swinomish Reservation has reopened for business!
Earlier this month, they held an incredible ribbon cutting ceremony as they welcomed back grocery-style shopping to their participants and celebrated the 4th anniversary of their beautiful building.
Helping Hands does an incredible job supporting our local communities in Skagit County, ensuring that those who need assistance are able to get it. Through their programs, they provide food to over 2,500 children every week, delivering bags of food to students along newspaper routes.
Another of their programs rescues food that would otherwise be thrown away from local grocery stores throughout Skagit County, cleaning it up and redistributing it to participants.
They do so much more to support our communities, and I would encourage you to learn more about them and consider supporting their efforts here. While I will always continue working to ensure that food is healthy and affordable for everyone, I’m proud to have such an incredible organization working right here in the 40th LD.
MMIW Task Force Report
Also earlier this month, the Washington State Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force issued our first report, laying out our findings and the next steps we feel are necessary to address the ongoing violence towards Indigenous peoples.
The Legislature established the MMIWP Task Force, administered by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, to understand and address the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous people. In the months ahead, the Task Force will address various issues, including data collection, jurisdiction, and training; and will create best practices and propose actionable recommendations that call on communities, law enforcement, government at all levels, community programs, and other institutions to improve their response to violence against Indigenous people.
Through our work, the Task Force made the following recommendations in our first report:
- Extend the MMIWP Task Force timeline through June 30, 2025.
- The Task Force data and research team will pay special attention to the link between gender and violence.
- All law enforcement agencies should expand their collaboration and coordination with federal, state, county, local, and tribal social and health services. The Task Force shall develop best practices for law enforcement agencies and for social and health services to improve this collaboration and coordination.
- Community service and resource programs should utilize inclusive language that reflects the experiences of MMIWP families and survivors.
- The Legislature should establish and fully fund a Cold Case Investigation Unit within the Attorney General’s Office with a focus on MMIWP cold cases.
- All law enforcement agencies should identify and implement strategies and practices to improve communication and transparency with family members in MMIWP cases.
- Require all law enforcement agencies to use the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
- The Attorney General’s Office shall update and re-issue the Missing Person’s Resource.
- Public agencies should consider adopting policies to waive or reduce fees for parks, permitting fees and other costs, and reduce administrative burdens associated with hosting large events such as MMIWP marches, rallies, vigils and memorials.
- The Task Force will continue to provide consultation to federally-recognized tribes in support of sovereignty and self-determination.
Truly I am so proud of the work that we are doing on this Task Force. Combined with the recently implemented Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People alert system that is helping locate our Native brothers and sisters, I am optimistic for the future on this important issue.
This is work that is ongoing and impactful, and it’s something that deserves our attention. This is deeply personal to me, and I’ll always continue working to ensure that Indigenous people in Washington, and around the world, are safe from harm.
Read the full Task Force report here.
Washington Needs a Green Amendment
Last year, I had the chance to sit down with members of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) to discuss a potential Green Amendment for Washington State. This is something that I have been working on for some time, and it would be a tremendous step towards strong protections for our environment.
A Green Amendment would be a constitutional environmental rights amendment added to the Bill of Rights section of the state constitution that would recognize the rights of all people in the state to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
Following my discussion with NCEL and my colleagues in Olympia, I was proud to introduce the Washington Green Amendment, which would amend Article I of our state constitution to recognize the environmental rights of all people of Washington for both present and future generations.
Now, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision limiting the power of the Environmental Protection Agency, I want to share with you an OpEd written by Maya van Rossum discussing the importance and potential power of Green Amendments and the importance of making environmental rights explicit as soon as possible.
As Maya writes, “When it comes to environmental rights, the language and its constitutional placement must leave no room for doubt that these are self-executing, enforceable rights that belong to the people; and are not confined to the limited protections legislators may choose to provide. Anything less will leave our environment at the mercy of politics and the courts. Green amendments, with their bill of rights placement and clear language protecting the rights of all people to clean water and air, a stable climate and healthy environments, are what we need.”
Read her full piece here.
As an amendment to the state constitution, the Washington Green Amendment requires two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature. Next, it would be included on the ballot during the next general election, allowing you the people of Washington the opportunity to vote on whether environmental rights should be protected by the state constitution.
I will continue working with my colleagues to pass this important Amendment to our state constitution that will help us protect this beautiful place we all call home for the next seven generations to come.
Staying Cool in the Heat
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been absolutely struggling through this most recent heat wave. We’ve been seeing incredibly high temperatures across the country, and right here in the 40th LD.
Not only is this a wake up call to ramp up our action on climate change and the environment, but it is also a reminder that we need to be careful and take care of ourselves during these times of incredible heat.
There are a number of things that we can do to help protect ourselves against the heat – staying hydrated, avoiding extended time in direct sunlight, and utilizing Washington’s cooling centers that are located throughout Western Washington.
Be sure to take care of yourself this weekend, Washington!
Supporting General Election Candidates
Last week, Washingtonians stood up across the state to cast their ballots and make sure their voices were heard. It’s an honor to be on your ballot once again, and I was excited to vote for so many incredible candidates in this primary election.
Now, following a strong turnout, we are celebrating a strong victory for Democrats across the state. While we should take this time to celebrate the results of our primary election, we still have a lot of work to be done before the general election in November.
On our last Fantastic Friday, I celebrated some of the candidates who moved on to our primary election, and I’d like to take a moment to list them out for you now. If you’d like to read more about each of them, check out last week’s newsletter here.
Enjoying the Skagit County Fair!
Finally, this week I want to highlight something truly exciting – the Skagit County Fair!
The Fair started earlier this week and ends tomorrow, but there’s still time to head over and enjoy the fun! The County Fair is in Mount Vernon, specifically at 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.
This is always something I look forward to every summer, and I hope you’ll have a chance to get out and enjoy the County Fair!
For more information, click here.
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 all those who have endorsed my second re-election campaign! It is an honor to have your support as I work on behalf of all Washingtonians. Thank you to the Humane Voters of Washignton, and Transpation for Washington 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.