Dear Friends, 

This past Tuesday was election day! So many great candidates were on the ballot, and across the country we saw Democrats out perform expectations. It is a good week to be a Washingtonian, and I am thrilled to represent you once again in Olympia!

Over the last four years I have had the honor to represent our 40th Legislative District. Together we have accomplished great things, from securing jobs to expanding education to preserving the Salish Sea to making sure that Native people no longer go missing.

It is a privilege to represent this place that we all call home, and I am thankful to be able to continue our work together in Olympia for another term. My commitment to you stands strong to fight for the rights for everyone in the 40th and across our great state.

Thank you to everyone who made their voices heard!

I want to take today to provide an update on the candidates that we have been discussing this campaign – see below for a full rundown of where they stand, and who will be joining me in Olympia! Some of the races remain too close to call, and I will provide updates on them as well as soon as I can.

As always, I am blessed and grateful to have your support, and I’m ready to get back to work.



Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Honoring Our Veterans 

Today we celebrate Veterans Day across the country, taking the time to appreciate and show love to those incredible individuals that have made such sacrifices to serve on all of our behalf.

As I spend time throughout the 40th LD and Washington I am always humbled to meet veterans who live in our communities. I hope you were all able to step back, take a deep breath yesterday, and that those around you showed the support and thanks that you deserve.

Veterans Hugh and Bonnie Jonson

From the bottom of my heart, I want to take a moment today and offer my thanks to all who have served in our armed forces. We all so appreciate the work that you have done and the sacrifices you have made.

We are all so grateful to those who have served, and if you haven’t already I would encourage each and every person reading this to reach out to a loved one or someone close to you who has served to say thank you. It is because of their work and continued dedication that we enjoy the lives that we do.

Thank you, Veterans!

Protecting the Indian Child Welfare Act 

Friends, while the rest of this newsletter will be focused on the results of the midterm election, I want to take a moment at the top today to talk about an incredibly important case currently before the Supreme Court that held oral arguments earlier this week.

The Justices heard arguments about the constitutionality about portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, known as ICWA, which established minimum federal standards for removing Native children from their homes, requiring preference to be given to a Native child’s extended family, and other members of their tribe, when they are removed from their family.

More than 40 years ago, Congress enacted the legislation after finding that public and private agencies had removed a third of all Native children from their homes, placing them in institutions or homes with no ties to tribal nations.

We must do everything we can to protect ICWA, and to protect our Native children. Maintaining this connection, even as children are removed from their families, is so important, and it is a pillar of modern sovereignty that we cannot afford to lose.

While the Supreme Court Justices decide on the case, we are taking action here in Washington. I am working closely with our tribes, and with Representative Drew Hansen, to draft legislation that will protect the core tenets of ICWA here in Washington, regardless of how the Supreme Court case goes.

I will always stand up for our tribes, and above all will work to help our children, and their children to follow, Native or not. This is an important part of being Native in today’s world, and we must do everything we can to keep our Native children in our tribal communities.

Keep an eye out for additional updates as the Supreme Court decides on this historic case, and as Representative Hansen and I continue working on our legislation.

Bill Ramos in the 5th LD! 

In the 5th LD, I’m pleased to celebrate Bill Ramos winning re-election!

He was elected into the People’s House alongside me in 2018 and has been a strong ally as we have worked to ensure our communities are safe and affordable, our schools are properly funded, and our environment is taken care of.

From 2005 to 2013, Bill worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a Community Planner with emphasis on developing and managing the Tribal Transit Program and Rural and Small Urban Area Transit Systems. As Federal Tribal Liaison, he worked with 56 Tribes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska to help start or improve public transit on Tribal Lands.

Congratulations, Representative Ramos!

Lisa Callan in the 5th LD! 

Also in the 5th LD, I’m pleased to celebrate State Representative Lisa Callan!

Lisa has been in office alongside me in Olympia since I was first elected, and she’s always been a strong voice for our public schools, uplifting children across Washington State, promoting affordable housing, and she has long been a champion for Washington’s small businesses.

She serves as Vice-Chair of the Capital Budget Committee, as a member of the Children, Youth And Families Committee, and the Education committee in the State House. She is co-chair of Washington State’s Children & Youth Behavioral Work Group in partnership with the health care authority

The more leaders like Lisa that we can have in Olympia, the better. Congratulations, Representative Callan!

Dave Paul in the 10th LD! 

In the 10th LD, Representative Dave Paul!

Dave has been an incredible Representative in the Peoples’ House, advocating on your behalf and working tirelessly for the benefit of the 10th LD, Washington State, and the country. It’s an honor to work alongside him, and I’m proud to support his campaign.

Dave Paul is a longtime educator and champion for children, public schools, active military and veterans, sustainable economic growth, the environment, and the protection of women’s, LGBTQ, and minority rights.

I’m thrilled to serve alongside him as we continue working on your behalf. Congratulations, Representative Paul!


Emily Randall in the 26th LD! 

Now I am pleased to celebrate Emily Randall winning reelection to the State Senate in the 26th LD!

Emily has spent her time in office advocating on behalf of all Washingtonians, always working to ensure that we all have access to affordable healthcare, that college is accessible and affordable to all who want to further their education, and so much more.

In 2018, Emily won a historic election to become the first Latina elected in the 26th District. Since elected, she has focused on delivering results to expand our local economy, improve access to high quality education, and to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs. She ran for re-election to continue her work finding solutions that put people first.

It’s been a pleasure serving alongside Emily since we were both elected in 2018, and I’m excited for the great things we’ll continue to accomplish together. 

Alex Ramel in the 40th LD! 

One great candidate that I’d like to highlight for you today is my fellow Representative in the People’s House for the 40th LD, Alex Ramel!

Alex has been a strong ally and advocate for the 40th LD during his time alongside me in Olympia, and I’m happy to stand united as we return to Olympia together after you cast your ballots in our favor!

Congratulations, Representative Ramel!

Joe Timmons in the 42nd LD! 

Another candidate is the incredible Joe Timmons in the 42nd LD!

Joe has spent the last decade working in public service at the local, state, and federal levels, always advocating on behalf of communities and individuals who need our support. He will be an incredible advocate for Whatcom County, and I’m proud to give him my support!

Joe currently works in Governor Jay Inslee’s office as the regional outreach representative for Whatcom and neighboring counties. In the community, he has served on boards with the City of Bellingham and he is a board member for the Bellingham Food Bank.

The more leaders like Joe that we can have in Olympia, the better. While his race is still close, I am confident he’ll be joining me in the Capitol this term!

Sharon Shewmake in the 42nd LD! 

It has been such a pleasure serving in the State Legislature beside Representative Sharon Shewmake these past four years. As a fellow mother and Representative, she has been a strong and steady voice on supporting legislation that helps Washingtonians and makes peoples lives better.

Now, I am pleased to see her winning her race to join the State Senate!

Sharon is a tremendous advocate for her constituents, and I am proud to endorse her campaign! Together we will continue to work on building long-term, steady economic growth that keeps our ecosystems and environments in mind, while doing everything we can to help all who call this place home.

While her race is still close, each day we are one step closer to confirming her as a State Senator for the 42nd LD!

Alicia Rule in the 42nd LD! 

Also in the 42nd LD, Representative Alicia Rule!

She has been an incredible voice for the 42nd LD, and for all Washingtonians, during her time alongside me in Olympia. I’m proud to endorse her campaign and can’t wait to get back to work on addressing the affordable housing crisis, investing in our communities, and helping protect the beautiful natural world.

Alicia is an incredible representative, exactly the kind of person want advocating on our behalf in Olympia.

Like Representative Shewmake, this race remains close and I’m monitoring it carefully – I look forward to working alongside her once again in Olympia!

Chris Stearns in the 47th LD! 

Next, we have an incredible leader in Chris Sterns in the 47th LD! He has been a long time Native American political partner at all levels of government and is a leading example of the kind experience we must bring to the legislature so we may work together for our communities. 

Chris is an Auburn City Councilmember and attorney who has worked at the state and federal level to advance the health and rights of Native Americans, youth, and vulnerable communities. In a legal career spanning 30 years, he has worked to advance human and tribal rights, expand clean energy jobs, champion health care access and affordability, and improve economic opportunity for tribal and other marginalized communities.

Chris, who is the first Native American elected to the Auburn Council, works with other cities in King County to coordinate on issues including affordable housing, drug dependency, salmon recovery, and racial equity.

He will join me as a Native American member of our State Legislature, and I am thrilled to have him alongside me as we work to help our districts, our State, and our country.

Congratulations, Chris!

Clyde Shavers in the 10th LD! 

Another close race we need to keep an eye on is Clyde Shavers in the 10th LD!

Clyde Shavers is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and U.S. Navy Veteran, non-profit leader and volunteer, and environmental law advocate. As the son of a police officer and U.S. Marine, Clyde grew up in Washington in a family dedicated to public service.

His race remains close, but he will be an incredible advocate for the people of Washington, and I cannot wait for him to join me in the Capitol!

Claudia Kauffman in the 47th LD! 

Finally, Claudia Kuaffman for State Senate in the 47th LD!

Claudia Kauffman has been a resident of Kent for over 20 years. She currently serves as the Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe where she oversees the tribes legislative agenda on a local, state, and federal level.

I am so thrilled that both she and Chris will join me as fellow Native members of the State Legislature – together we will accomplish so much for our Native brothers and sisters, and all Washingtonians as we work today for the next seven generations to come.

Congratulations, Claudia!

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