As we have talked about these past months, 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. The special alert system has been in operation these past few months.
The system works 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.
Now, I am so excited to let you know that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a “Feather Alert” bill into law, creating a similar system in California! The bill was sponsored by Assemblymember James C. Ramos from California’s 40th district, the first Native American elected to California’s State Legislature.
California Assemblymember James C. Ramos
“The Legislature and administration are listening to those in the trenches fighting these crimes. These violent acts affect not only victims, but also families — and in too many instances, the lives of children who are left without a parent. We have much more work to do, but this is one step that can help now,” Assemblymember Ramos said.
The “Feather Alert” bill is meant to address the growing number of cases involving missing Indigenous people and to stop the increase in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People. It creates a state endangered missing advisory, or EMA, system when Native Americans are at risk. It is similar to other notification systems currently operated by the California Highway Patrol.
Congratulations to Assemblymember Ramos, and the state of California! This is an incredible step forward to protecting our Native brothers and sisters, and I am so glad to see this important system spreading across the country.
There will always be room for everyone at my kitchen table, and this is an issue near and dear to my heart. I will continue working to ensure that all of our Native friends and family are safe and protected both here, and across the country.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Supporting State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti
Friends, this past week I had the pleasure of attending a fundraising event to support the re-election campaign of my good friend, our State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. Mike has long worked on increasing visibility, removing ‘dark money’ from our elections, and banning foreign corporate money in Washington State’s campaigns.
I had the honor of joining Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Port of Seattle Commissioner Toshio Hasegawa at this incredible event supporting our State Treasurer.
Mike as been a tremendous treasurer for our state and I look forward to seeing all that he will accomplish. Mike also works as an Assistant Attorney General, and in that capacity he has fought against financial fraud and government waste, ensuring that your tax dollars go where they are supposed to – places that improve our communities and our state.
To learn more about Mike’s campaign, click here.
Updated COVID-19 Boosters
As many of you know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new COVID-19 booster shot that will is currently available – the Moderna booster for those who are 18 and older, and the Pfizer-BioNTech booster for those 12 and older.
Individuals who completed their most recent round of COVID-19 vaccination at least two months ago are eligible for these new boosters.
These new shots target both the original strain of COVID-19, as well as the omicron variants that make up most current cases in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) signed off on these new shots last week.
Getting vaccinated remains the most effective way of protecting yourself and those around you from COVID-19, and it is important that we continue to do our part to keep our communities safe. If you are able, I would highly recommend you get vaccinated with the new vaccine. With the holidays coming up, many of us are set to start traveling to see our loved ones – for their sake and yours, make sure you are safe!
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.
San Juan County Report on Southern Resident Killer Whales
Here along Washington’s coast, we have the beautiful Southern Resident Killer Whales, a group of Orcas that I have always worked to protect. Recently, we discussed a new Emergency Rule will require commercial whale-watching boats to keep least a half nautical mile away from the Southern Residents this past summer.
While that emergency rule is set to expire at the end of this month, I am pleased to share a report from the San Juan County Department of Environmental Stewardship that “has culminated from 3.5 years of work to identify management alternatives and specific recommendations to better protect the foraging areas of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales off the west side of San Juan Island.”
According to the report, “San Juan County weighed the evidence presented by the science and assessed the input of local stakeholders to define a Quite Foraging Area for the whales. Recommending an integrated management strategy that combines mandatory go-slow and restricted activity zones, within timing limitations. This approach will provide the most balanced approach to protecting the endangered whales while allowing for some vessel-based activities and respecting the sovereignty of local Coast Salish Tribes and their Usual and Accustomed fishing areas.”
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.
Make Sure You Are Registered to Vote!
We have such an important election coming up, and there is no better way to make sure that your community reflects your beliefs than to cast your vote. Choosing who represents you in Washington, in Olympia, on School Boards, and everything in-between is so incredibly important.
If you need more information about registration or what is on your ballot, head over to voter.votewa.gov for all the information that you need.
There are so many tremendous candidates running for office this year, and it truly warms my heart to see passionate and dedicated people stand up to work for their communities. There is no limit to what we can accomplish together, and I truly hope you will make your voice heard during this primary election.
Key Races that Need Your Support
Last month, 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.
We have recently celebrated some of the candidates who moved on to our general 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 our full recap newsletter here.
Aleutian Isle Report
Last week we discussed the raising of the Aleutian Isle, the fishing vessel that sank last month off the coast of San Juan Island and had been spilling fuel off our shores ever since. As soon as this occurred, all levels of government jumped to action in order to address the leaking ship as quickly as possible.
I let you know about the raising of the vessel on September 17, when the Aleutian Isle was raised to the surface and dewatering the vessel began. 250 gallons of waste oil were removed as well, and as anticipated, fuel was dislodged during the lift operation and caused a visible sheen on the water’s surface.
Now, I’m pleased to share with you a report from the Friends of the San Juans detailing lessons learned from the sinking of the Aleutian Isle. According to the report, “the sinking of the ALEUTIAN ISLE, the resulting oil spill, and the threat of a larger spill provide an important opportunity to evaluate the response that occurred and identify what needs to be done to be better prepared to respond to the next oil spill.”
Read the full report here.
This was a tragic event, and we still have a lot of work to be done to clean up the impacted ecosystems and waterways. I am eternally grateful to all of the dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly to raise the Aleutian Isle, and all those who will continue working to minimize the sinking’s impact on our environment.
Anacortes Oyster Run
Earlier this week, we celebrated and enjoyed the 39th annual Anacortes Oyster Run!
While this self-styled “Largest Motorcycle Run in the Pacific Northwest” is centered in Anacortes, it stretches throughout our district and takes riders all around our beautiful piece of Washington State.
Thank you to all of the public safety officers and first responders around Anacortes, Swinomish, Mount Vernon, and Burlington, and the Washington State Patrol for keeping our roads safe during the 2022 Oyster Run!
Hundreds of motorcyclists traveled to Anacortes and experienced our community, and I am so grateful to all the dedicated workers who showed up and worked hard to ensure that it was a safe and enjoyable occasion.
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.
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.