Dear Friends, 

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Earlier this week, we celebrated this important day for me and so many others, and I want to take the time to thank the Washington Tribal leaders, elders, and community members for taking care of me, and for taking care of my daughter, Emma. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

We are seeing incredible progress for Native people across the country. From representation on our screens, to the President’s Cabinet, and even to outer space (keep reading for more on that!).

My role as the only Native American in our State Legislature is not something I take lightly. I am honored by your support, and as we look around and uplift our Native brothers and sisters I know that, while have a lot of work to do, we have come so, so far together.

Thank you all for your support!

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Doorbelling For Our Children

Next month we are set to cast our ballots and elect our representatives in Washington, and in Olympia. But there aren’t just candidates on the ballot – there are also a number of other items that we need to vote on.

One such item is Prop 5, and important proposition that will help support affordable early education and childcare for our children, something that has always been a priority of mine as your representative in Olympia.

 To support this proposition, I’m excited to co-host a doorbelling event with Yes for Whatcom Kids! Check out the graphic below for more information.

Here is what Yes for Whatcom Kids has to say about Prop 5:

“A healthy start for every child and new family in Whatcom County means high-quality, affordable early education and childcare, regardless of where we live or our family background. This is the goal of Prop 5.

If Whatcom County voters say YES to Whatcom Kids in November, 2022, this will be achieved through a property tax of $0.19 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $95 per household per year, or $7.92 per month. This will raise about $8.2M per year countywide.”

This is a simple step we can take to support our students and children – I hope you’ll join me on the 22nd as we go door to door helping raise awareness in support of Prop 5.

First Native American in Space!

Friends, as I mentioned above, this has been a truly historic time to be Indigenous!

Nicole Aunapu Mann made history on October 5 when she became the first Native American in space! She is enrolled in Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in northern California, and she is part of a crew that is set to spend the next several months at the International Space Station.

According to Indian Country Today:

“It’s very exciting,” [Mann] told ICT referring to being the first Native woman in space. “I think it’s important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”

The crew will live on board for six months to complete their mission of conducting approximately 250 scientific experiments in the space station that is “a floating laboratory,” Mann said, who is a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.”

Congratulations to Colonel Mann for this incredible achievement!

Key Races That Need Your Support

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.

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.

Representative Bill Ramos in the 5th LD 

Representative Lisa Callan in the 5th LD 

Representative Dave Paul in the 10th LD 

State Senator Emily Randall in the 26th LD

Representative Alex Ramel in the 40th LD

Joe Timmons in the 42nd LD

Sharon Shewmake in the 42nd LD 

Alicia Rule in the 42nd LD

Chris Stearns in the 47th LD

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 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.  

Colville Tribes Internet Grant!

Earlier this week, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation announced they have accepted a federal grant to construct internet infrastructure across the Colville Reservation!

This is an incredible development – access to high speed internet is incredibly important to so many facets of modern life. Improving internet access helps businesses, students, and overall quality of life. This is a great step forward for the Colville Reservation!

The grant will be for $48.4 million, and construction will occur over the next five years. Exact details of the project are yet to be determined, but fiber will be connected directly to as many homes as possible. Where that is not possible, wireless services will be constructed “with the goal of providing quality, high-speed internet access across the entire Colville Reservation.”

The grant was funded by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with funds that Congress appropriated in 2021. Each individual Tribal application could receive up to $50 million, and the Colville Tribes received the amount they requested.

Congratulations to the Colville Tribes!

Clean Energy & Tribal Consultation

Friends, last week it was my pleasure to join Governor Inslee, Tribal leaders, and their staffs for a meeting to discuss partnerships between the State and Tribes on siting clean energy and shared climate goals.

The meeting was an incredible chance to have leadership discussion on issues of mutual interest and concern related to siting clean energy generation and manufacturing to reduce pollution, build Washington’s low-carbon future, and combat climate change. 

Thank you, Governor Inslee!

It was so great to hear from Governor Inslee, his Chief of Staff Jamila Thomas, Makah Tribe Vice Chairman Patrick DePoe, and other Tribal leaders during the important and productive meeting.

Developing clean energy products is an important path that we must continue to walk down and creating these government-to-government relationships that allow us to expand and grow our clean energy capabilities will only help Washington and our Tribal Nations moving forward.

Ensuring that there is ample consultation and collaboration will ensure that all parties can leave the table happy, and I am overjoyed to have taken part in this first step. I have always prided myself on having room at my table for everyone, for that is how we get things done. Together we can accomplish so much, and I’ll keep you updated on further clean energy developments with Washington’s Tribes moving forward.

Ensuring Nobody Goes Hungry

As your Representative in Olympia, I understand that it is my job to show up every day and work to help our community, and our neighbors. One of my top priorities has always been increasing access and affordability to higher education – and with that comes a responsibility to ensure our students are able to afford housing, supplies, and food.

Many colleges have food pantries set up, and students can qualify for programs such as SNAP, or Basic Food here in Washington, if they are participating in an approved state or local employment and training program that meets federal requirements OR the student is working at least 20 hours per week, which can include work study hours.

Thankfully, work has been ongoing in Olympia to increase access to basic needs, and the Student Emergency Assistance Grant Program, set up through Representative Entenman’s bill in 2019, does exactly that.

The Student Emergency Assistance Grant Program provides grant money to community and technical colleges to provide monetary support to students who need help paying for food, transportation, child care, or other goods and services needed to continue attending classes.

To learn more about the program, click here.

Other four-year colleges have set up their own food insecurity programs, including:

  • WSU’s Cougar Meal Swipe program: Students can request funds from the program to be used at campus dining locations. The student needs to have a balance of $10 or less in their Cougar cash and resident meal plan dining dollars to qualify.
  • UW’s Food Security Grant: Students in urgent need of food can apply and receive $100 on their Husky card to be used at on campus dining locations.
  • WWU’s Swipe Out Hunger: Students can donate their unused meal swipes to other students who have requested meals. WWU also has emergency food funding available to students through the financial aid services center.
  • Evergreen State College Hungry Greener Program: allows students with meal plants to donate block meal credits or dining bucks to other student facing food insecurity. The program will provide up to 5 donated block meals per quarter to qualifying students. Qualifying students are those with fewer than 5 meals on their dining accounts.

This is an important issue, and a simple way that we can help support our students as they continue their educations. I am grateful to all the work and programs that have been set up already and will always continue working to ensure that no Washingtonian goes hungry.

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.

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 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.

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