Dear Friends,

While we’ve been talking a lot about different candidates that were on the ballot this year, leading up to the election we also talked about an important proposition that would directly benefit our children – Prop 5!

Prop 5 is an 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.

Now, I’m pleased to let you know that Prop 5 has officially passed!

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 an incredible step that we as a community have taken to help our children, and I want to pause on this Fantastic Friday for a moment to thank all of the dedicated individuals who worked so hard to get this passed.

Thank you to everyone at Yes for Whatcom Kids! Learn more about them here.


Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Celebrating A Great Young Man!

Speaking of our students, I’d like to take a moment to shout out one particular student here in the 40th LD – Hayden John!

Hayden has been an athletic star in Anacortes, and is an incredible young man. As his football season wraps up and he moves closer to graduation, I want to commend him for his accomplishments on and off the field!

Check out some of his highlights here.

Hayden is the grandson of a former member of the Swinomish Council, Leon John! Leon has a keen understanding of the importance of love, family, and community towards helping our children grow and thrive. These, taken with the commitment of a young person, make dreams come true.

We can’t wait to see what comes next, Hayden!

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Summit

Earlier this week, it was my pleasure to give the keynote address at the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Tribal Leaders Climate Change Summit!

It is always a pleasure to join ATNI for their events and workshops, and I am so grateful to all of the work they continue to do on behalf of Native peoples in the Northwest.

This week, I was glad to talk about the importance of tribes and tribal sovereignty in addressing climate change, how Washington’s tribes are enacting change to address this environmental issue, and how we’re working together on a government-to-government level.

Thank you to everyone at the Summit for joining and engaging in this important discourse, and to everyone at ATNI who helped to put this on!

ATNI was founded in 1953 and is a nonprofit organization representing 57 Northwest tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, southeast Alaska, Northern California and Western Montana. 

Learn more about them here.

Washington’s Green Amendment 

Yesterday, it was also my pleasure to join Western Washington University to be a part of their Environmental Lecture series alongside activist, author, and founder of the Green Amendment Movement Maya K van Rossum!

Thank you for joining us, Maya!

The talk focused on discussing and inspiring a new tool for environmental preservation, one that will provide a new way of thinking about, and pursuing, environmental protection from a policy as well as a legal perspective.

A Green Amendment would be a constitutional environmental rights amendment added to the Bill of Rights section of the state constitution that would recognize the rights of all people in the state to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments. 

Earlier this year, I was proud to introduce the Washington Green Amendment, which would amend Article I of our state constitution to recognize the environmental rights of all people of Washington for both present and future generations.

This is an important addition to our rights as Washingtonians, and I continue working with my colleagues to pass this important Amendment to our state constitution that will help us protect this beautiful place we all call home for the next seven generations to come.

The Environmental Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Talks are held each Thursday at 4:30 pm in Academic Instructional Center West, room 204. Paid parking is available in lot C. Or join online on Zoom!

A New National Monument! 

In Washington, DC this week, President Biden hosted the White House National Tribal Nations Summit, announcing that he intends to designate a 703 square mile monument in southern Nevada, protecting sacred land.

According to the Associated Press:

“The site, to be designated Avi Kwa Ame (Ah-VEE’ kwa-meh) National Monument, would encompass a rugged and dry triangular-shaped area roughly from Arizona and the Colorado River to California and the Mojave National Preserve. The area is mostly undeveloped landscape dotted with Joshua trees and bighorn sheep migration routes.

Spirit Mountain, northwest of Laughlin, is the tallest in the surrounding Newberry Mountains. It was called “Avi Kwa Ame” by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and listed in 1999 on the National Register of Historic Places as a place sacred to tribes.”

This is an incredible recognition of the importance this land has to our Native tribes, and I applaud the Biden administration for this incredible step forward!

Read more about the announcement here.

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 in Congress

Also in Washington, the United States Senate passed a historic piece of legislation this week!

The new legislation which still needs to go through the House of Representatives before it is signed into law, would mandate federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

The bill would repeal 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.

The House is set to vote on the legislation as soon as next week, and President Biden has indicated he will sign it into law quickly. Read more here.

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