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.
Happy to have cast my ballot!
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 election.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Bellingham Bike Lanes!
Making sure that our communities are accessible and welcoming to all has to be a priority. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that increasing the ways that we can spend time outdoors will only improve our lives.
One such way that Bellingham is by creating new bicycle lanes along several streets!
According to the Bellingham Herald, “Bellingham City Council unanimously approved removal of parking spaces from several streets and add protected bicycle lanes as part of long-range plans to connect neighborhoods under a “multimodal” approach that focuses on people who walk, bike and ride the bus just as much as those who drive cars.”
Read more here.
While there are certainly many valid concerns, this will be a great step forward to helping our communities. I look forward to seeing all of the cyclists out along the road – be sure to wave if you see me!
Coho Salmon Come Home
Friends, we’ve recently seen an incredible event. Each year, the coho salmon that call this place home return, swimming upriver to their original homes to lay their eggs and bring in the next generation.
This year, we were surprised with an early return! I wanted to take a moment to share an important message from San Juan County Councilmember Cindy Wolf on this great day:
“Right next door to Moran State Park, Cascade Creek is home to the last wild salmon run in the beautiful San Juan Islands. This week coho salmon surprised us with an early return and we scrambled to welcome them with an emergency water rights donation from Rosario Resort and the Olga Water Board. Many thanks to the Barto family and the community of Olga for helping the fish get to their spawning grounds so the run can be renewed.
Currently the resort is up for sale, presenting a profoundly important opportunity for the people of Washington. Public ownership of this land and the senior water right would protect this precious wild run and add a shoreline component to the mountain and lake habitat already preserved in Moran State Park.
We could, in effect, reunite and strengthen the holistic ecosystem of the watershed. How wonderful and instructive would it be to see what happens if we give nature room to rebuild the abundance that fed people and animals in these islands for thousands of years?”
Check out a great video of our salmon returning here!
Restoring our salmon to their natural and original splendor will have incredible impacts throughout the Pacific Northwest – it is something we can do today that will benefit our grandchildren’s grandchildren, and generations more that follow.
Together we can accomplish so much, but we must continue to put pressure on our elected officials. I will always work to lead the way and advocate on behalf of our salmon in Olympia, but we must make our elected officials from the community level to the national understand that this is our priority.
I am glad to be standing beside you all as we work to solve the challenges facing our salmon, and I am confident that together we can accomplish incredible things. Be on the lookout for additional information as we continue working on this front – I will be sure to continue to provide updates as we do this important work.
Electric School Buses
In the past we have talked about the concerted effort we are making to transition Washington’s ferries from fossil fuels to electricity, a process that is underway and making great progress.
Now, I’m happy to tell you about another sustainable step forward, one happening across the country.
Nearly 400 school districts spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C., along with several tribes and U.S. territories, are receiving roughly $1 billion in grants to purchase about 2,500 “clean” school buses under a new federal program.
Tens of millions of children ride the classic yellow school buses we all know to school across the country, and they deserve updated, cleaner transportation as they receive their education. This is an incredible advancement, as just about 1% of our nation’s 480,000 school buses were electric as of last year.
While a lot of this money is still being awarded, we do know that Seattle won a grant to update their school bus fleet! Keep an eye out as additional information becomes available – and look out for new buses on the roads!
Supporting Dave and Clyde!
Over the summer, 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.
Representative Dave Paul!
Two key races that need our focus and attention are retaining Representative Dave Paul in the 10th LD, and flipping the District’s other seat by electing Clyde Shavers. We need their Democratic seats and votes in the House to ensure our community’s, neighbor’s, and children’s futures are safe and prosperous for generations to come.
Clyde Shavers needs your support!
These two are incredible civil servants, and I hope they can count on your support. Having Dave alongside me in Olympia has been invaluable, and I can’t wait for Clyde to join us!
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.
White House Summit on Indian Education Policy
As the only Native American in our State Legislature, I understand the importance of my role. There will always be room at my kitchen table for everyone, and working to foster government-to-government relationships will always be a priority of mine.
With that in mind, I’m so excited to be able to attend the Tribal Leaders & White House Summit on Indian Education Policy!
The purpose of the summit is to unify the federally recognized Tribes of the Northwest region and urban Native centers to engage with White House Cabinet, federal, and state officials to seek solutions. We look forward to working together to identify, prioritize and move forward recommendations that will shape federal and state educational policies and ensure full opportunity for our children, youth, families, and tribal communities now and for generations to come.
For more information on the summit, click here.
The Summit has been ongoing all week, and it has been an incredibly informative experience. My heart is lifted by the dedicated individuals who show up to work on this important issue, and I will always continue to advocate on behalf of our Native brothers and sisters.
Supporting Representative Peltola
Last month, we talked about the historic election of Representative Mary Peltola, and now she needs our continued support!
Following the passing of Representative Don Young, Alaska held a special election to fill the seat in Congress that he held for decades. There was a massive field, which was narrowed down to three individuals.
After the votes were cast and counted using Alaska’s ranked choice voting system, we found out a few days ago that Democrat Mary Peltola won the special election and will be representing Alaska as their sole member of the House of Representatives!
Mary is a Yup’ik Alaska Native, salmon advocate, and Democrat who represented the Bethel region in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years. According to her website:
“As a lawmaker, I helped rebuild the Bush Caucus, which passed legislation and influenced budgets that improved lives in rural Alaska, under my tenure as Chair. After leaving the legislature, I worked as Manager of Community Development and Sustainability for the Donlin gold mine project. I left the company after 6 years and joined the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. As Executive Director of the commission, I helped mobilize 118 Tribes and rural Alaskans to advocate for the protection of salmon runs in Western Alaska. This was a continuation of my work as a Salmon Fellow with the Alaska Humanities Forum.”
This is an incredible step forward for the people of Alaska, and I am proud to see an Alaska Native joining the halls of Congress. The fight is not over, however, and Mary stills need our support as she fights to continue on as Alaska’s representative.
At the recent Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, the late Congressman Don Young’s daughters gifted Mary with his Alaska Flag bolo – an incredible gesture, and a clear sign that she is a leader who will represent all of Alaska!
Congresswoman Peltola was elected to finished the late Don Young’s term – she is still on the ballot for the general election! Fighting to keep the only Alaska Native in Congress elected is incredibly important, and I hope that she can count on you.
To learn more about Mary and to show her your support, 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. For more information on where you can find a vaccine, 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.
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.