The Emergency Proclamation by Governor Inslee earlier this year about the infestation of European green crabs came as no surprise to the team of agencies, tribal co-managers, shellfish growers, and others who are working to battle this invasive species.
One of those partners, the Northwest Straits Commission, took a unique approach by partnering with the Department of Veteran Affairs to host a Veterans Conservation Corps intern to provide additional support in the field.
Removing European green crabs requires hard work and dedication, which is a perfect match for Antonio Jones, the Veterans Conservation Corps intern who helped set thousands of traps and catch more than 300 European green crabs in Drayton Harbor near Blaine, WA during the 2022 season.
Partnering with the Veterans Conservation Corps program was a benefit to the environment as well as providing a second mission for Antonio as he pursues a new career field in marine science.
“My internship was an incredible experience,” said Antonio. “I had the opportunity to collaborate with a well-rounded and inclusive team that provided the best hands-on educational journey possible. The project has helped shape my understanding of the importance of conservation efforts to help protect and restore marine ecosystems with a team of experts, volunteers, and community in the Pacific Northwest.”
To learn more about the Northwest Straits Commission, click here.
We all owe our thanks to those who work for the Northwest Straits Commission, and I want to express my deep gratitude for all the incredible things they have accomplished. The work we are doing today will leave a world that future generations can be proud to call home.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Addressing Generational Poverty
As Washingtonians and members of each of our individual communities, we owe it to one another to reach out and help those around it. Each of us should do what we can to help those members of our community that need it most.
For many of us, that means paying taxes, donating to charity, volunteering to help those less fortunate. For those of us lucky to be sent to work in Olympia, in means enacting legislature that helps break cycles of poverty and need.
And now, I’m happy to tell you a bit about the Washington Future Fund!
Here is what the Seattle Times has to say on this legislation we will consider in the upcoming session:
“A new proposal coming to the Washington Legislature for consideration next year aims to break the cycle of poverty that’s trapped families…and lift future generations of low-income residents toward a path of financial independence.
The Washington Future Fund would create a pool of money that every child born under the state’s Medicaid program, Apple Health, could access a portion of upon adulthood to use toward homeownership, education or pursuing a small business.
Lawmakers introduced the plan during the last legislative session but paused the idea, opting instead to create a state committee charged with outlining exact details and recommendations for how Washington could create a trust fund program for the roughly 40,000 children born each year under Apple Health.”
Read more about the potential program here.
We must always work today for the next seven generations to come, and the Washington Future Fund will uplift those in this generation who need it most. I’m so excited to see this legislation progress through Olympia, and I will keep you updated on future developments!
We Need Your Help to Bring Broadband to Washington!
Last month, the Federal Communications Commission released their broadband service maps – a look at which areas across the country currently have access to high speed, broadband internet.
This map is incredibly important, as it will determine how much federal funding states receive out of a $42 billion program next year. Washington is expected to receive around $900 million dollars out of the program, but could get significantly more if the map accurately reflects service gaps.
And that’s where you come in!
The FCC map is not perfect, and there are several areas where local data contradicts what the FCC currently has. You can read more about the map and the process of providing current data in this Crosscut article, but we should all check our local areas and make sure that the data is accurate!
This is a simple thing we can all do to help our fellow Washingtonians. Making sure that the FCC has correct data to make decisions about distributing funds will help bring high speed internet to more corners of our great state.
I know we can count on you!
Protect Your Family This Holiday Season!
With the holidays upon us, many of us are set to start traveling to see our loved ones – for their sake and yours, make sure you are safe! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently 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 as well.
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.
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.
Marriage Equality Signed into Law!
This week, President Biden signed into law a bill that we discussed a few weeks ago – the Respect for Marriage Act!
“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love?” the President said. “It’s not more complicated than that.”
The law repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, and prohibit states from denying validity of a marriage from another state based on sex, race, or ethnicity.
The legislation passed with a dozen Republican Senators voting in favor, requiring the language to include a condition that guarantees religious organizations would not be required to provide any goods or services for the celebration of any marriage, and could not lose tax-exempt status or other benefits for refusing to recognize same-sex unions.
This is an incredible step to defend the civil rights of so many incredible Americans – thank you to all members of Congress, and to President Biden, for making this happen!