Welcome back to Fantastic Friday!
As we discussed in the past, my weekly newsletter will alternate coming from my campaign side and my official side, with the first two weeks of each month coming to you here!
We are well underway with the new legislative session in Olympia, and I have some highlights for you below on my recent meetings and legislation that I am sponsoring, but I want to take a moment up front to talk about what I am focusing on this year.
This year, I will continue my ongoing efforts to create a kitchen table where all are welcome – and I hope to make that table even bigger moving forward. From the tribal, federal, state, and local levels of government, I want to work to provide a space where we can come to shared decisions, ensuring that all interested parties have a voice.
Those of you who have followed along during my time in Olympia know that this is nothing new. We know that so much more can be accomplished together than alone, and I will always make space at my table for those who want to be involved.
Just this week I had the pleasure of meeting with Craig Bill from the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, Lummi Nation Chairman Anthony Hillaire, Washington Indian Gaming Association Executive Director Rebecca George, Tulalip Chair Teri Gobin, and Squaxin Island Chair Kris Peters to discuss how we can best move forward together.
We have a lot of great things working during this legislative session, and this year! I’m excited for the great things we will accomplish, and I understand my responsibility not only to my district, but to the great state of Washington.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Highlighting Current Legislation
As we dive into the new legislative session, there are a number of bills already put forward. I have sponsored several myself, and am a co-sponsor on a great number of bills introduced by my colleagues.
Each week, I want to take some time out to highlight specific bills for you, going into detail on why it is important and has my support. If you want to see all of the bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored, click here.
This week – HB1720 Riparian Grant Program
We have an opportunity to make a historic vote in the legislature that builds a foundation for our tribes and agriculture community to work together to sustain a way of life that is rooted in culture and values of families across this great state.
I am truly honored to stand with Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee Chair Mike Chapman, and our friends and colleagues, Republican Deputy Minority Leader, Representative Joel Kretz, Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee Ranking Minority Member Tom Dent, and the support of Republican Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox.
Our team is built on trust, respect and honoring the Chairman’s leadership and commitment to honor bipartisanship in decisions that impact so many lives, today and tomorrow.
We have witnessed a variety of voices working hard to find common honoring the vitality of salmon eggs and seeds, while addressing a great number of challenges. My commitment to this pivotal issue is founded in supporting our communities that find life and culture in our salmon, our farms that experience the impacts of dwindling populations, and the need to find a foundation that turns the tide and supports us all.
Through the collection of generations of voices and experience, we are able to make this great stride forward to protect our tribes, our farmers, and environment. With Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chairman W. Ron Allen and his decades of experience leading and collaborating, and Washington State Farm Bureau President Rosella Mosby, the first woman elected to lead the Washington State Farm Bureau, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure that all parties leave the table satisfied and excited.
These two leaders sat down and reviewed the work down last year through the Governor’s roundtables, and took their experience to find common ground based on trust and respect. They are intertwined with their communities and always working to support them. We have a bipartisan approach that is a start to growing a relationship, and we know we have a long path to walk together.
Your Voice is Valued!
There are a few quick pieces that I’d like to take a moment to highlight today as well – moving forward I’d like to include as many shoutouts for great Washingtonians as possible!
San Juan School Districts Find A Solution That Has Taken 6 Years to Address with the State Legislature
Representative Alex Ramel has brought our team together to address a disparity in funding for schools, not only for our district, but for over 20 other school districts. A bill currently before the legislature would allow local voters of a county to make a choice about whether to use a levy to raise funds for schools.
Thank you, Orcas Island Superintendent Eric Webb, San Juan County Council Chair Cindy Wolf, and many other citizens, parents, and children who have shared their voices to make a change that is needed for their community.
Championing Equity and Diversity
Washington State Patrol Captain Neil Weaver continues to be a champion in finding pathways to incorporate equity and diversity into his agency.
His tireless commitment to implement the MMIWP Alert System is evident in his outreach to myself and to the Attorney General.
I want to extend a thank you to Captain Weaver for working hard to bring solutions to the unforeseen circumstances in the implementation process!
Thank You, Nancy Shapiro!
Nancy Shapiro is a wonderful constituent who I had the pleasure of meeting during my time serving in Olympia. Her heartfelt discussion with me focused on two areas near to my heart:
She raised the new work being done on Hate Crimes and it brought my heart back to Justice for Joel in the Skagit. I had the privilege of working with Senator Javier Valdez on an Attorney General Hate Crime Bill, and I’m sure many of you recall a few years ago when a young high school student was violently beaten by a young man in rural Skagit. The violent act included racial slurs written on his face with a permanent marker. Joel and his family remain in the Skagit, and he faces the medical challenges of the vicious attack every day.
Nancy also brought to my attention the work of a volunteer program for school districts to adopt the Jewish history into their academic system. This brought me back to the Native American Since Time Immemorial Curriculum that was developed in consultation with Tribes and the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.